DoF affirms priority status for Sasa Port modernization, Davao-Samal Bridge

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THE Sasa Port in Davao City. — BW FILE/LSDAVALJR

DAVAO CITY — Two longstanding proposed projects for Davao — the Sasa Port modernization and the Davao-Samal Bridge — will be pursued under the government’s Build, Build, Build program, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez said.

“These projects are part of the 75 flagship projects comprising the Build, Build, Build program,” Mr. Dominguez said during last week’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.(DCCCII).

The Department of Transportation is currently updating the terms of reference for the Sasa Port project, and Mr. Dominguez said rollout could come within the year.

The project, involving the biggest government-owned seaport in the Davao Region, covers an upgrade of the general cargo berths and construction of a back-up area to accommodate increasing cargo volume.

Based on the previously published bid invitation, Sasa Port has a total area of 18.1 hectares (ha), including a 4.15-ha container yard and an annual capacity of 550,000 20-foot equivalent units.

The Davao-Samal Bridge, meanwhile, is now in the initial stages of a feasibility study and detailed design stge under the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The planned bridge has an estimated cost of over P17.8 billion, based on the IPIF Project Administration Manual.

“The Davao-Samal Bridge will link the city with the Island Garden City of Samal. It will reduce travel time between the two cities from 26 to 30 minutes using RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) or ferry operations to only two to five minutes using the link bridge,” Mr. Dominguez said.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar, during a visit to Davao City in June, said he is optimistic that construction of the 1.2-kilometer bridge, which will cross the Pakiputan Strait, could start by 2019.

Several other big-ticket projects within the Davao Region that are expected to be completed by 2022 are: Phase 1 covering the Digos-Davao-Tagum segment of the Mindanao Railway System; upgrade of the Davao International Airport; the Davao City Coastal Road Project; Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network involving the construction or improvement of 2,567 kilometers of roads across the Davao, CARAGA and Northern Mindanao regions; the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project; Davao Expressway Project; the Davao City Bypass Road; and the Asbang Small Reservoir Irrigation Project in Davao del Sur.

“Davao City’s economic prospects can only get even better. The city and its environs will benefit from the massive infrastructure investments over the next few years… The city and the whole Davao region have been gearing up for this growth surge for years,” Mr. Dominguez said.

At the same time, the finance Secretary, who hails from Davao City, told businessmen to be ready for expansion and opening new enterprises by tapping digital tools to improve efficiency.

“Be assured that your government stands squarely behind you. But we can only assist. It is for you to convert opportunities into created wealth. It is for you to do the innovation required for new businesses to prosper. It is for you to catalyze risk into profit,” Mr. Dominguez said. — Maya M. Padillo