RIGHT-of-way (ROW) acquisition and the geotechnical survey for the Samal-Davao Bridge project have been suspended since January, a NEDA regional official confirmed.
“It was reported by the Department of Public Works and Highways-Unified Project Management Office that the procurement of ROW and the conduct of geotechnical survey have been suspended since January this year. There are entry issues that need to be addressed by the implementing agencies,” said National Economic and Development Authority-Davao Regional Director Maria Lourdes D. Lim.
She said negotiations have been concluded with some affected property owners on the Davao City landing side, but discussions are still underway in Samal.
Lawyer Ramon Edison C. Batacan, legal counsel of the Rodriguez family whose beach resorts in Samal will be affected, said the halt in the bridge’s work is due to lack of the required Detailed Engineering Design (DED).
“Work cannot commence without the detailed engineering plan. The Department of Public Works and Highways cannot proceed without the DED, even without the temporary restraining order (TRO), but (they are just) making the ROW as a scapegoat for the alleged suspension,” he said.
The Rodriguez family has a pending case before the Supreme Court seeking a TRO on the project and seeking a reassessment of the design.
The P23-billion bridge, funded through a loan from China, has been targeted for completion by 2027.
“Timeline, we are flexible but hopefully this will be achieved within our medium-term plan period,” Ms. Lim said, referring to the region’s 2023-2028 plan. — Maya M. Padillo