Work on Mindanao’s biggest, longest bridge set to start next year spanning Panguil Bay

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The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Region 10 announced that Mindanao’s longest and largest bridge project, spanning Panguil Bay, will start construction by the third quarter of 2017, which will connect Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental by 2020.

The Panguil Bay Bridge will connect Tangub City, Misamis Occidental and Tubod City, Lanao del Norte, and reduce travel time between Tangub and Tubod to 7 minutes. It will also significantly improve the travel time from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to the cities of Tangub, Ozamiz, Oroquieta, Dipolog, and Dapitan in Zamboanga de Norte.

“We expect the start of the bridge construction by the third quarter of 2017, but this is just a proposed implementation schedule, so this can still change due to several technicalities that are being ironed out so we cannot yet determine the exact month,” said Vina Maghinay, acting spokesperson DPWH Region 10.ferries_on_panguil_bay_erwin_mascarinas_10112016

Ferry boats encounter each other at Panguil Bay crossing. Photographed by Erwin Mascariñas, InterAksyon

Maghinay explained that the project agreement has been signed with South Korean Bank and the Philippine Government.

“As of April 2016, the Philippine Government and the Export-Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development Cooperation Fund (KEXIM-EDCF) have finalized the signing of the agreement for a P4.859 billion loan to finance the implementation of the Panguil Bay Bridge Project. Right now we still have continuous meetings with the team toward approval of the draft request for proposal on the bridge design,” said Maghinay.

She added that, “Detailed engineering design and construction of civil works will start in July 2017. And if the implementation schedule would be followed properly, the entire bridge construction will be finished by June 2020.”

DPWH indicated that work on the access road to the bridge on the side of Tangub City, Misamis Occidental has already started, but was suspended due to issues having to do with right of way from the community.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) pointed out that PhP4.2 billion would be funded through loan proceeds, while the Philippine government will fund the remaining PhP 586 million.

“For this year, PhP44 million is included in the budget of DPWH to cover the cost of land acquisition, administrative support, and payment of government taxes. For fiscal years 2017 to 2019, the budgetary requirements shall be accommodated within the budget ceiling of the DPWH,” said the DBM statement.

Discussions on the Panguil Bay Bridge project started in 2014 through the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and NEDA board. Original funding was pegged at P5 billion. Upon review by DPWH, however, the costs of direct construction, consultancy and physical contingency was reduced, which brought down the cost to P4.9 billion.

Panguil Bay covers parts of Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, and Lanao del Norte provinces. Presently the fastest way to travel across the bay is to be transported by passenger ferryboats across the channel from Ozamiz City to Tubod in Lanao del Norte but passengers have to wait for the hourly trips and the 20 minutes boat ride.

Another route traversing the national highway from Tubod to Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte then connecting to Aurora to Tambulig in Zamboanga del Sur and onward to Tangub City and Ozamis City of Misamis Occidental takes approximately three hours.

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