Duterte's bridges linking Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao shelved

MANILA, Philippines – Financing and engineering problems hound Duterte’s ambitious infrastructure push, leading his economic managers to completely scrap bridge projects linking the country's major islands.

In a Rappler Talk interview on Wednesday, October 23, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the 18-kilometer bridge that was supposed to connect Samar to Sorsogon will not be pushing through.

The massive bridge was estimated to cost almost P58 billion. A report from the Philippine News Agency quoted National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director Bonifacio Uy as saying that the project linking Luzon and Visayas would even cost a whopping P375 billion.

“It’s not only a long bridge, but the waters are really very deep…it’s much more expensive than we thought,” Pernia said.

“It can be taken up again in the next administration. At least they will know by now that they will spend more and make sure that they can cope with the challenge,” he added.

Pernia also said that the P47.4-billion bridge that would link Leyte and Surigao will not be pushing through as well because building it would be “too challenging.”

Of the 75 big-ticket infrastructure projects, 37 have been processed and approved by the powerful NEDA board.

Pernia said that there are “certain projects” that are too difficult to pursue because of cost implications, terrain, or the depth of the sea in which the bridges would be built.

He said that the economic team will be revealing the updated list soon. The Build, Build, Build website has been unavailable as of writing. 

The Duterte administration has proposed around 19 major bridge projects amounting to almost P500 billion. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.