THE longtime goal of connecting Davao City and the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) through a bridge is finally going to be realized.
“We will immediately start construction after the feasibility study is completed. That would take about three months,” Faisal Kasim, Chief Executive Officer of the MCC Capital Projects (MCCCP) Ltd. of UK, the financial institution that will invest on the bridge project, said in a press conference Thursday evening.
Kasim added that the bridge would cost around 120 million dollars and MCCCP would extend the financial assistance to Igacos in terms of a no-interest loan payable in 30 years. A leeway of 5 years will be given to Igacos from the completion of the project to start paying its loan.
“We carried out the feasibility study at our own cost. What we ask is the chance to develop commercial communities and opportunities in the island itself,” Kasim said.
For their commercial pursuits, Kasim said they are eyeing a hotel investment as well as the establishment of a convention center in the island. “We aim to have these structures blend with the island and not stick out as a sore thumb,” Kasim said.
Igacos Administrator Cleto Gales Jr. was also quick to add that even with the influx of development that may be brought about by the bridge construction, they are committed to preserving a big portion of the island. “We will only have 20 percent of the island as built-up areas or those that can be developed. Eighty percent will remain as it is. We also have established 15 Marine Protected Areas that are off-limits to any kind of development,” Gales said.
“If we will not preserve our natural endowments, then we will no longer be deserving of being called the island garden city,” Gales added.
Former Igacos Mayor Rogelio Antalan, under whose term the bridge was first proposed, said they are hoping to convince the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to issue an order to have ships currently passing in front of the island to pass at the back portion.
“We are hoping to construct a bridge with at least a 25 meter-distance from the water level. This will be from Kilometer 10 in Sasa, Davao City to Babak in Igacos,” Antalan said.