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The Philippine dream


The New Year heralds new hope, new beginnings, new opportunities to fulfill our dreams.A few years back, before I started working with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the “Build, Build, Build” project, one of the dreams that I had for the country was to have better roads.


I used to be a humanitarian worker before I entered government. At that time, I noticed the challenges not only of bringing essential items to communities, especially during calamities, but also in providing aid for recovery and rehabilitation. The difficulty was due to the lack of a reliable road network.


Fast forward to "Build, Build, Build," I was able to see the fulfillment of my hopes, and even more. Under the leadership of Secretary Mark A. Villar, the DPWH was able to finish 29,264 kilometers of roads, 5,950 bridges, 11,340 flood mitigation structures, 222 evacuation centers, 150,149 classrooms, 214 airport projects, and 451 seaport projects in the last five years.


Aside from these, the BBB will turn our dream of connecting Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao into reality. Imagine if all 81 provinces, 146 cities and 1,489 municipalities are finally connected — the possibilities for development are endless.President Rodrigo Duterte’s Mega Bridge Project is a series of short and long-span bridges linking island provinces to eventually connect Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao via land travel.


Already ongoing construction is the Panguil Bay Bridge, a 3.169-km bridge that will connect the City of Tangub in Misamis Occidental to the Municipality of Tubod in Lanao del Norte. At present, those who wish to travel from Tangub City to Tubod would need to travel 2.5 hours via the 100-km route Tangub-Molave-Tubod Road or via Tangub-Kapatagan-Tubod Road. Once the Panguil Bay Bridge is completed, which is expected by December 2023, travel between these two towns will only take seven minutes.


Another anticipated project is the 3.98-km Samal Island-Davao City (SIDC) Connector bridge that will serve about 25,000 vehicles a day and reduce travel time from Davao City to the Island Garden City of Samal from 30 minutes to only two to five minutes.


Also in Mindanao are the 1.208-km Guicam Bridge that will connect the Olutanga Island to Zamboanga Peninsula via the Canalizo Strait, and the three bridges in Tawi-Tawi — the 540-meter Nalil-Sikkiat Bridge, the 569-meter Tongsinah-Paniongan Bridge, and the 680-km Malassa-Lupa Pula Bridge.


In the Visayas, among the mega bridge projects are the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge, the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Construction Project, and the Panglao-Tagbilaran City Offshore Connector Bridge.


The 32.47-km Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge will connect all six provinces of Western Visayas by linking the Panay Island (where the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo are located), to Guimaras, and to Negros Occidental.The Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Construction Project aims to improve the transport capacity and efficiency by constructing a road bridge that will connect Mandaue City in Cebu island and Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan island. Once completed, travel time from Mactan Cebu International Airport to Cebu Port area will be reduced from 45 minutes to only 25 minutes.


Meanwhile, the 1.2-km four-lane Panglao-Tagbilaran City Offshore Connector Bridge will connect Bohol to the island municipalities of Dauis and Panglao. It will reduce the travel time from Tagbilaran City Seaport to Panglao Island from 45 minutes to only 15 minutes.


In Luzon, we are anticipating the construction of the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge, which will connect the Central Luzon and CALABARZON regions by land, without having to go through the stretch of Metro Manila. When completed, travel time between Bataan and Cavite will be reduced from nearly five hours to only 40 minutes.


Once these mega bridges are completed, we can see not only development and increased trade between and among these islands, but also a more connected people, which is essential in nation-building. As Sec. Mark would say, he is proud that, at one point in our lives, we have contributed to something that will be beneficial not only for the present, but also for the next generations of Filipinos.

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