BRIDGE PROJECT. Davao del Norte Gov. Edwin Jubahib bares Thursday (February 27) that the Samal-Davao bridge project is finally scheduled for groundbreaking in July this year. The bridge was conceptualized 40 years ago, and is one of the big-ticket infrastructure initiatives under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. (PNA photo by Che Palicte)

TAGUM, Davao del Norte – The long-awaited PHP23 billion Samal-Davao bridge project will break ground in July this year, Gov. Edwin Jubahib announced on Thursday.

This came, Jubahib said, after the lone holdout among the several families whose properties will be affected by the project has already agreed with the terms of expropriation offered by the government.

Jubahib said the groundbreaking will be held simultaneously at Azuela Cove in Davao City and Barangay Caliclic in Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos)--the two points interconnecting the planned bridge.

Last month, Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte bared that the project had been delayed because one of the property owners threatened to file a writ of Kalikasan against the project.

A writ of Kalikasan is a legal remedy under Philippine law that provides protection of one’s constitutional right to a healthy environment.

Jubahib assured that the environment would be protected throughout the phases of the bridge construction.

“No corals will be affected and there will be no displacement among the affected families during the construction process," he said.

“This is long-overdue and we thank this administration for giving it a chance. Our interest is for the people who are clamoring for this bridge,” he added.

With a length of about 2,830 meters, the mayor said the bridge would provide a vital link for trade and tourism for the island and mainland Davao City through reduced transport costs and faster flow of people, goods, and resources.

Conceptualized 40 years ago, the project has been identified as among the big-ticket infrastructure initiatives under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. (PNA)