Samal-Davao bridge project begins on May despite concerns on marine life

Apr. 24, 2024
The Samal Island – Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project perspective design. (Photo courtesy of DPWH)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – In an effort to appease concerns on the environmental impact of building the Samal Island – Davao City bridge, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced Monday, April 22 that it will set up a craneway in delivering its materials.

Engineer Joweto Tulaylay, project manager of the Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project, said the craneway system will ensure the delivery and lifting of construction materials that will reduce the need for direct contact with the surrounding marine habitat, an issue raised by the owner of the popular Paradise Island Park and Costa Marina Resort.

“The only way to mitigate the damage to our marine life is using a steel bridge. This is only temporary and will be removed after the completion of the bridge,” Tulaylay said.

The construction firm announced that the project has started with site clearing and will start with the setting of the bridge foundations, starting with the Samal side on the first week of May and the Davao side by the end of May.

DPWH added that in agreement with its Environmental Compliance Certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the agency will form the Multipartite Monitoring Team which includes the DENR, civil society groups, and resort owners to oversee the construction with minimal ecological disruption.

The Samal-Davao bridge project is financed by China’s Official Development Assistance with a cost of Php 23.04 billion and is targeted for completion by 2027.

The bridge will be a four-lane connector with a length of 3.98 kilometers that crosses the Pakiputan Strait between Barangay Limao’s Samal Circumferential Road and Davao City between the intersection of Daang Maharlika and R.Castillo Street.

The project held its groundbreaking ceremony last October 27, 2022, with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Chinese Ambassador Huang Xillian in attendance.

Project proponents said the bridge will be able to connect 25,000 vehicles a day from Davao City to Samal Islands, a popular tourist destination for its beach resorts, and also to facilitate access to social services.

The SIDC project has met opposition from the Rodriguez family, owner of Paradise Island Park Resort and Costa Marina Beach Resort, which is the landing site of the bridge.

The Rodriguezes has sought the Supreme Court to file a temporary restraining order on the project.

READ: To protect Paradise Reef, family files TRO vs Davao-Samal bridge project

Julian Rodriguez, manager of Paradise Resort, said they are actually supportive of the bridge construction which has been pushed for many decades to help the tourism industry in Samal, but they oppose the location of its bridge as it affects the reef which they are protecting.

The family said Paradise Reef is an “underwater garden” of at least 7,500 square meters of corals. Based on a study they commissioned, the reef hosts 79 species of hard corals,26 species of soft corals, and over 100 species of fishes.

“The bridge is not the problem, but the construction…would be bloody. It would excavate, bring out silt, bring out a lot of mud and sand. It will bring it both ways depending on the current with an estimate of seven kilometers. That would slowly sink all the way and potentially cover the reef leading to death of the corals and organisms,” Rodriguez said. (

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