TACLOBAN CITY, Jan. 12 (PNA) – The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) regional office here confirmed that there are proposals to build long span bridges that would connect Eastern Visayas to Luzon and Mindanao.
NEDA Eastern Visayas Regional Director Bonifacio Uy said these bridges will link Allen, Northern Samar to Matnog, Sorsogon and San Ricardo, Southern Leyte to Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.
“The proposed bridges are among the infrastructure projects submitted to the Chinese government for technical assistance in the preparation of a feasibility study,” Uy told the Philippine News Agency.
The big ticket projects will be financed through partnership between the Philippine government and Chinese investors.
“There were plans in the past, but we are more optimistic now under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte since this is what we call the golden age of infrastructure,” NEDA assistant regional director Meylene Rosales said.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno announced late last year that the Duterte administration plans to spend up to PHP9 trillion in the next six years for mega projects, including long span bridges that would link Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
“This is a permanent solution to the perennial problem of stranding during weather disturbances and port congestion during peak season,” Rosales said.
Allen is an important port for inter-island transport, specifically between Samar Island and Sorsogon province.
Roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ferries cross the San Bernardino Strait, transporting passengers and vehicles to and from Allen Port and Matnog Port in Sorsogon. With a distance 28 kilometers, the average travel time is one hour and 30 minutes.
Buses from various provinces of the Visayas and Mindanao bound for Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon pass through Allen.
The government also noted the increasing traffic in Southern Leyte ports for Mindanao-bound passengers.
RoRo ships have been transporting passengers and vehicles to and from Benit Port in San Ricardo town and Lipata Port in Surigao City, crossing Surigao Strait. The distance between the two ports is 29 kilometers. (PNA) SARWELL Q. MENIANO