THE $1-billion bridge connecting the four islands in the Visayas is expected to be completed within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Department of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros-Cebu Link Bridge is the “most ambitious bridge program in the history of our nation.” Villar, along with National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Bases Conversion and the Development Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio Dizon, held a press conference Thursday, to bare the nine infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration, which will start construction next year.
The administration wants to decongest Manila and disperse the development in the regions. Villar said the Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros-Cebu Link Bridge project, after its completion, is seen to replace San Juanico Bridge, which links Samar and Leyte, as the longest bridge in the country.
He said the length of the bridges that will connect Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros and Cebu, ranges from two to 10 kilometers. “Once finished, you will be able to take a road trip to Iloilo and Cebu,” Villar said. He said that 25 percent of the budget is allocated to the nationwide decongestion program of the administration.
Pernia, for his part, said the infrastructure projects, including the Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros-Cebu Link Bridge, have gone through the “eye of the needle” and are ready to be implemented by the concerned agencies next year.
He said the projects are already in the state of bidding, adding that it will generate more jobs once the construction begins. Pernia added that the “work regimen of 24 hours a day, seven days a week” will hasten the construction of the infrastructure projects.
He warned though that the works can cause inconvenience to the public. “Before the country can rise up and be world-class, there will be some inconvenience.
If there is construction going on, it can cause inconvenience,” he added. Tugade, meanwhile, said the infrastructure projects can address unemployment and traffic problems in the country. “Infrastructure means connectivity and mobility, connectivity among local government units and mobility to go to one place to another,” he added.