SAN Miguel Corp. (SMC) on Wednesday said it is eyeing to build a 15-kilometer bridge that will connect Mindoro island to mainland Luzon through Batangas province.
“We have started bringing together global experts across disciplines, including a European architectural and engineering firm to do a technical feasibility study on how the bridge can be built sustainably to benefit both people and the environment,” SMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang said in a press release.
The company said it is in talks with the Oriental Mindoro provincial government through Governor Humerlito A. Dolor about the project, which was first proposed in 2015.
Mindoro, the 7th largest and 8th most populous island in the country, is divided into two provinces, the other being Occidental Mindoro.
Mr. Ang said that since his last meeting with Mr. Dolor, SMC’s team has engaged the services of a local company to initially do a bathymetric survey to measure water depth.
“It has faced a series of setbacks over the years, but we hope that together we can finally bring the vision to fruition,” he added.
The bridge project will span between Barangay Ilijan in Batangas, pass through Verde Island, and Barangay Sinandigan in Puerto Galera, a popular tourist town in Oriental Mindoro.
“The bridge is seen to result in faster and more efficient transport of people and goods and spur local economic growth through job generation, higher investments and optimization of basic services such as water, power and telecommunications, among others,” the company said.
The Batangas-Mindoro “super bridge” is part of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s 10 projects for public-private partnership.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the government is now working on a “harmonized” recovery plan for the oil spill incident in waters off Oriental Mindoro.
“We have a convergence framework where we look at each of our mandates, at the point of how we can support the building of resilience for inclusive and sustainable activities,” said DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Y. Loyzaga in a statement on Wednesday following a multi-agency meeting last week.
According to the DENR, they are establishing plans to address the “intersecting impacts” of the oil spill incident on the environment, tourism, and the local economy.
Motor vessel MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil when it sank off Naujan in Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28.
Ms. Loyzaga said the recovery plan should “not only look at bouncing back but bouncing forward” to assure the resiliency of communities and ecosystems.
Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco reported that there are over 1,600 tourism industry workers whose livelihoods have been affected.
Defense Undersecretary Ariel F. Nepomuceno, who also serves as the executive director of the national disaster management council, sought for a “scientific approach.”
He said he aims to work with the Department of Science and Technology for accurate guidance on the recovery efforts.
In Occidental Mindoro, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) has contracted Power Systems, Inc. (PSI) to operate its diesel power plant to ease the 20-hour daily power outages in the province.
In a statement on Wednesday, NEA Administrator Antonio Mariano C. Almeda said this would give Occidental Mindoro residents about six to seven hours of electricity supply per day.
NEA said PSI agreed “in principle” to operate its diesel power plant in San Jose town starting April 29, which has a dependable capacity of five to six megawatts (MW).
“NEA will cover the cost of operation for the first two months,” Mr. Almeda said, adding that the contract for the two-month period will be a form of subsidy from the national government.
“The cost of the operation will not be passed on to the consumers,” NEA added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Almeda has also requested DMCI Power Corp. to supply power to Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (OMECO) after the Department of Energy (DoE) issued a certificate of exemption from the competitive selection process for the procurement of 17 MW emergency power supply.
“The DMCI promised to roll out 10 MW in a matter of 30 days and the 7 MW in two months,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile, Sheldeen Joy Talavera and Ashley Erika O. Jose