Gov't eyes 8 bridges linking Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao

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Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 20) — The Duterte government plans to build eight major bridges estimated to cost ₱269.19 billion which will connect  the islands in  the Visayas to each other, to Mindanao and to Luzon, the Department of Finance said Thursday.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the bridges, part of the government's "Build, Build, Build" program, will be complemented with more roads in the Visayas region.

"These bridges will provide growth corridors and ensure that none of the major islands of the Visayas will be left behind in the country's race to progress," Dominguez said in a statement read by Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin at the Philippine Economic Briefing  Thursday.

According to Dominguez, the bridge projects pending before the Investment Coordination Committee for approval are as follows:

  • an18.2-kilometer bridge to connect Samar provinces to the main island of Luzon;
  • a 20-kilometer bridge connecting Leyte to Mindanao Island through either an underwater tunnel bridge or a long-span overhead bridge;
  • the 5.7-kilometer Panay-Guimaras bridge;
  • the 12.3-kilometer Guimaras-Negros inter-island linkages;
  • the one-kilometer Bohol-Lapinig Island bridge;
  • the 18.0- kilometer Lapinig Island-to-Leyte bridge;
  • the 5.5-kilometer Cebu-Negros Link Bridge; and
  • the 24.5-kilometer Cebu-to-Bohol Link Bridge.

Four big-ticket projects in the Visayas under the "Build, Build, Build" program have also been approved for implementation by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, incluing three airport improvement projects and a port construction.

READ: Government to prioritize infrastructure, social services in 2019 budget

Dominguez said that these infrastructure investments, pegged as $170 billion between now and 2022, will stimulate economic activity in the country.

"Jobs and opportunities will be created, and we are confident we can bring down poverty incidence to only 14 percent by 2022," Dominguez said.

The "Build, Build, Build" program is among the Duterte administration's landmark schemes, which aims to boost the country's economy and investments through big-ticket infrastructure projects.

Budget officials earlier estimated the cost of the program, which aims to usher in a "Golden Age of Infrastructure" in the country, at around ₱9-trillion.

"'The Build, Build, Build' program is in full swing. We are continuing with our comprehensive tax reform program. Investment flows into our economy will continue to rise dramatically," Dominguez said.