NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The ongoing construction of the Panglao Island (Dauis) – Tagbilaran City Interconnector Bridge is among the priority Inter Island Linkage Mega Bridge Projects of the country.
This was bared by Cong. Edgar Chatto after inquiring on updates of the project during the recent budget hearing of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Budget for 2021.
It may be recalled that Chatto pushed for the construction of this bridge during his term as governor to decongest traffic going from Tagbilaran to Panglao Island via Dauis where the Bohol-Panglao International Airport now operates.
DPWH led by Sec. Mark Villar in response to Chatto’s query confirmed that the construction of the Songculan, Dauis interchange is ongoing and will be followed by the Tagbilaran City rotunda at the Tagbilaran Port area. These will serve as approaches to the main bridge and are locally funded.
The main interconnector bridge costing around P4.4Billion is now undergoing final review by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee (ICC).
DPWH Usec. Emil Sadain also reiterated the information on the ongoing construction of the approaches to the bridge.
He further explained that the project is awaiting ICC technical board schedule for final deliberation. The project will be under grant financing through Official Development Assistance, he said, emphasizing that the project is on top of the line of national government infrastructure projects.
Villar also expressed commitment to continue support for local road infrastructure as Chatto asked to be appraised on the percentage of national roads that have completed concreting vis-à-vis local roads.
Chatto emphasized that road links are vital to economic growth and development, and also cited governance reforms that transpire through the implementation of road projects as in the Conditional Matching Grant to Provinces (CMGP) experience, hatched and piloted in Bohol when he was governor.
Villar had reported that there is an increase in both stretch of national and local roads concreted with programs such as tourism convergence under Gordon-Chatto-authored Tourism Act of 2009, roads linking industries, and farm to market road projects.