Samal needs power, waterworks before bridge — del Rosario

May. 19, 2008

“If I do have the money for a project in Samal, I will pour it for power and water supply projects because the place needs these the most.”

This was the statement made by Davao del Norte governor Rodolfo del Rosario during the fourth anniversary special of the Kapihan sa Kapitolyo.

Plans are underway for the construction of a bridge that will connect the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) to Davao City . A United Kingdom based company, MCC Capital Projects Ltd, has offered to invest on the project.

Del Rosario said that he was not sold on prioritizing the construction of such a bridge because Igacos has more pressing needs. The del Norte governor, however, admitted that he was not familiar with the planned construction. He said members of the Samal local government unit (LGU) took the initiative to look for a private company that would invest on the project. He also clarified that he is not against any plan of eventually constructing a bridge. He merely urged the LGU to seriously study if it needs a bridge at this time to liven up the economic activities in the island.

“We can cite Hongkong as an example. It took them so long before finally constructing a bridge (to mainland China) because people love cruising to and fro. Thus, their tourism sector was benefited,” del Rosario added. He said the island could benefit in terms of tourism by packaging the ferry ride to the island as part of the excitement of visiting Igacos.

He pointed out that the island has enough ferries to transport visitors and settlers from Davao City.

The planned bridge project is estimated to cost 120 million US dollars and will be in the form of a financial assistance no-interest loan that the LGU must pay in 30 years. Igacos will also be given a reprieve of five years after the completion of the construction of the bridge before it has to start paying for the loan.

The investors also bared that before they start the construction, they still need to complete feasibility studies especially on the commercial aspect of the project. The investors want to include the construction of a hotel and a convention center in Samal Island.(PIA)

The government cannot allocate funds on it yet. “We are experiencing deficiency and we need to utilize the money for something more urgent such as addressing the problem on potable water and power supply in Samal,” he said.

However, “if there is any group that is willing to put up a bridge or invest without requiring government guarantee,” he said, “he is more than willing to accept it.”

In the meantime, “let us maintain the ferry system,” he said. “It is still efficient, romantic and conducive for tourism,” the Governor said. (DAVNOR-PGO/PIA XI)

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