All systems go for Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) now undertakes the conduct of land survey and geotechnical investigation using boring machine with the government finally proceeding with the detailed engineering design activities for the civil works construction of long-awaited Samal Island – Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project. 

DPWH Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain together with Assistant Secretary Constante A. Llanes Jr. and Project Director Rodrigo I. Delos Reyes of Unified Project Management Office-Bridge Management Cluster inspected the two (2) on-going drilling of boreholes for the geotechnical investigation at Davao onshore under supervision of Project Manager Joweto V. Tulaylay and Project Engineer John Christian T. Gaden. 

The geotechnical investigation plan prepared by design and build contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation will have a total of 97 boreholes – 63 for Davao onshore, 18 offshore, and 16 for Samal onshore. 

Senior Undersecretary Sadain said that the final alignment of the proposed main bridge including the connecting eastern/western offshore and onshore approach bridge, the Davao interchange ramp bridge and approach road have been exhaustively studied with most beneficial effects in terms of technical, financial, economic, environmental and social impacts. 

Although DPWH considered several proposals for the bridge alignment including the one (1) suggested during the recent meeting at DPWH Head Office between DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Davao del Norte Governor Edwin I. Jubahib, and the Rodriguez-Lucas family – owner of Samal’s Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort and Costa Marina Beach Resort, the approved final alignment for the sea crosssing bridge is a product of comprehensive study by experts and with important consideration to the environment and the necessary navigational safety management for seacraft and height restriction for air transport, added Senior Undersecretary Sadain. 

The project has all the necessary permits and requirements from concerned local government units and national government agencies and both the local government units of Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) and Davao City have expressed no opposition on the current bridge alignment, said Secretary Bonoan.

The Infrastructure Development Council (IDC) of Regional Development Council (RDC) 11 has approved as early as 2019 the bridge’s alignment and landing points from Samal Circumferential Road in Barangay Limao, IGACOS to Davao City in between R. Castillo-Daang Maharlika junction, citing its economic and logistical benefits. 

The project has also obtained in December 2020 an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) based on the most recent detailed study on the bridge project by Consultants, Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd. (Arup) which highlights that the current alignment has the least impact on reefs.

DPWH allayed fears that the SIDC Project will have an adverse effect to marine life and the environment by adopting state-of-the-art modern technology in the construction of deep foundation for sea-crossing bridge. The alignment will not also affect the mountainous terrain of IGACOS compared to suggested alignment by some group. 

Part of the requirement that has been complied before the issuance of fhe  Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) is the creation of the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) and the establishment of Environmental Monitoring Fund (EMF) and Environmental Guarantee Fund (EGF). 

The EMF is a fund that the proponent shall commit to establish to support the activities of the MMT. Meanwhile, the EGF shall be established and used exclusively for the  immediate rehabilitation of areas affected by damages to the environment and the resulting deterioration of environmental quality as a direct consequence of project construction, operation and abandonment. 

This fund is for the contingency clean-up activities, environmental enhancement measures, damage prevention programs and social equity measures (e.g. livelihood, social development programs) including the necessary information-education-communication and capability building activities related to the project.

The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) likewise issued Resolution No. 04, s.2020 in October 2020, giving clearance or expression of support for the SIDC Project, being outside the Samal Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLS).

Furthermore, the DPWH has also issued a Letter Offer to each project affected person (PAP) in compliance with Section 6.2, IRR of R.A 10752, duly approved by Government Financial Institution (GFI) Appraisal Report presented by Landbank of the Philippines (LBP).

Envisioned as a 3.98-kilometer, 4-lane bridge that will link Samal Island to Davao City, SIDC will cross over Pakiputan Strait with vertical clearance navigation of up to 47 meters, supported by two (2) pylons with a height of 73 meters.

When completed, it is seen to facilitate the economic advancement of Davao Region, and further boost the tourism potential of IGACOS which is known for its pristine beach destinations.

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