THE PHILIPPINE government has signed a $350-million loan deal with China for the construction of a bridge linking Samal Island to mainland Mindanao in the countrys south.  

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian made the announcement on Monday through a post on his official Facebook page, saying This project will break ground before long.”   

The 3.86-kilometer, four-lane bridge was proposed years before President Rodrigo R. Duterte was elected as the countrys chief executive. It was included in the Duterte administrations priority infrastructure program.   

The project links Samal, a popular tourist island destination, to the Presidents hometown Davao City.   

On behalf of the Chinese side, today I exchanged with Finance Secretary (Carlos G.) Dominguez the signed Framework Agreement and Loan Agreement for the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project,Mr. Huang wrote.    

The Chinese government will provide a concessional loan of approximately 350 million US dollars to the Philippine government to finance the project.” 

In January 2021, the Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) signed a P19.32-billion design and build contract for the project, which was a prerequisite for the loan agreement application with China. MSJ