A new era of ties between Philippines-China relations ushered with the Chinese government providing Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the Samal Island – Davao City Connector (SIDC) Bridge Project in Davao Region.
The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH), through Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, and Government of the People’s Republic of China (GPRC) through Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Philippines Ambassador Huan Xilian exchanged on Monday, June 13, 2022 the Framework Agreement on the provision of concessional loans to the Philippines for the design and build of SIDC Project under China Government Financing Facility.
A long-awaited dream project over decades, Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project is one of the key G-to-G cooperation projects between China and the Philippines and a flagship project under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
DOF Secretary Dominguez also exchanged with Ambassador Xilian, witnessed virtually by the officials of Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) the loan document that provides financing for the construction of SIDC Project, a toll-free two-way four-lane extradosed bridge to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways – Unified Project Management Office (DPWH-UPMO) Operations headed by Undersecretary and Build Build Build Chief Implementer Emil K. Sadain.
The ceremonial event held at DOF Building was also attended by Chinese Embassy Minister Counselor Yang Guoliang; DPWH Undersecretary Sadain representing Acting Secretary Roger G. Mercado; DOF Undersecretaries Maria Edita Z. Tan and Mark Dennis Y.C. Joven; DOF Assistant Secretary Neil Adrian S. Cabiles; UPMO Project Director Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim; and Project Managers Soledad R. Florencio and Lilibeth B. Rico.
The loan will cover 90 percent of the project’s ₱23.039-billion price tag.
The bridge is envisioned as a modern bridge that will connect the Samal Circumferential Road in Barangay Limao, Island Garden City of Samal to Davao City in between R. Castillo-Daang Maharlika junction.
With a total length of 3.98 kilometers including Davao ramps and at grade road and roundabout in Samal, the bridge has a width of 24 meters and a vertical navigational clearance up to 47 meters. The bridge crossing over Pakiputan Strait will also be supported by two (2) pylons with a height of 73 meters.
In line with the Chinese loan procedures and arrangements, the DPWH commenced the procurement process and undertook limited competitive bidding among Chinese contractors provided by GPRC.
China Road and Bridge Corporation has been selected as the contractor for the project.
On January 14, 2021, DPWH and China Road and Bridge Corporation entered into a contract amounting ₱19.32-billion for the design and build of Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project to head start the negotiation process and support the loan application.
According to Undersecretary Sadain, the project is expected to break ground in July 2022 and the construction duration is estimated to last 60 months.
Once completed, the bridge will provide a resilient and reliable transportation link between Metro Davao and Samal Island, reducing travel time from 26 to 30 minutes via roll on roll off or ferry operations to only 5 minutes, and enhancing internal mobility and external linkage to support the economic and tourist growth potential of the local region, said Undersecretary Sadain.
It will also increase the economic activities and improve the livelihoods of the local people who have long dreamed of having such a bridge, added Undersecretary Sadain.