China OKs $350-M loan grant for Samal-Davao bridge

The Chinese government has announced its approval of the USD350 million loan to the Philippine government to finance the Samal Island-Davao City bridge project.

“The first cross-sea bridge that the Davaoeño people have long dreamed of will come true,” Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said in a Facebook post Monday.

In a ceremony, the envoy exchanged with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III the signed framework and loan agreements for the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project at the Department of Finance in Manila.

The arrangement states that the Chinese government will provide a concessional loan of approximately USD350 million to the Philippine government to finance the two-way four-lane 3.86-km bridge connecting Davao City and Samal Island in Davao del Norte across the Pakiputan Strait.

“Once completed, this bridge will provide a resilient and reliable transportation link between Davao City and Samal Island, improving transportation efficiency, promoting internal mobility, and stimulating tourism potential,” Huang said.

The project is expected to employ thousands to build the project.

“This project will break ground before long. Look forward to seeing the long-awaited cross-sea bridge turning from a vision into a reality,” Huang said.

A project report of the Department of Public Works and Highways said the bridge to connect Davao City to Samal Island was first conceptualized in the 1980s.

In 2017, during the World Economic Forum on Asean in Cambodia, President Rodrigo Duterte announced 75 big-ticket flagship projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program, including the Davao-Samal connector project.

The first feasibility study for the project was presented in 2019.

In January 2021, a commercial contract for the design and build of the project was signed between the Philippine and Chinese governments.

Earlier, it was announced that the construction could take about 54 months.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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