By GISELLE OMBAY | GMA News Online
Like some of his political rivals for the presidency, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. also vowed to build a bridge that would link the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental, if he wins in the May 9 polls.
During his campaign rally at the Tamasak Arena, Barotac Nuevo on Thursday, Marcos said that this plan was in line with his goal of continuing the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
“Pinag-uusapan nga namin kanina kung papaano ang gagawin para matuloy na ‘yung tulay na manggagaling sa Iloilo hanggang Guimaras hanggang sa Negros para mabuksan na natin at dumami ang economic activity dito,” he said.
[Earlier, we were talking about what to do to make the bridge from Iloilo to Guimaras to Negros continue so that we can open up and increase the economic activities here.]
The Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge is set to be the longest in Western Visayas and one of the longest bridges in the country, with a length of 32 kilometers.
It will be divided into two components: the 13-kilometer Panay-Guimaras link and the Guimaras-Negros link which is 19.47 kilometers.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the project will likely begin in 2025 and it is targeted to be finished in 2030. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has said the South Korean government will provide financial support for the project.
“Isa ‘yun sa mga project na pino-propose at kailangan pag-aralan kasi hindi naman gobyerno ang magbabayad niyan. At kung hihingi tayo ng tulong sa ibang lugar, kailangan naman maipakita natin sa kanila ang ganansya. Isa ito sa laging napag-uusapan when it comes to our infrastructure development,” Marcos said.
(That is one of the projects we are proposing and it needs to be studied because the government will not pay for that. If we ask for help elsewhere, we have to show them the gains. This is one of the most talked about when it comes to our infrastructure development.)
Vice President Leni Robredo also vowed on Saturday to build the same bridge if she gets elected to the presidency, citing her "mettle" in delivering programs under her office's Angat Buhay initiative.
Last December, presidential bet Manila Mayor Isko Moreno also promised Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas to build the Iloilo-Guimaras bridge.
Aside from opening up the economy, Marcos said pushing for this project was also aligned with his call for unity.
“Siguro naman kahit hindi tayo nagkakasundo sa pulitika magkakasundo tayo sa adhikain na pagandahin ang Pilipinas. Doon tayo magsimula. Gawin natin itong tungtungan para maabot ang ating nagkakaisang pangarap na iahon ang bayan mula sa pagkakalugmok nito. Tanging ang pagkakaisa lamang ang ating maaaring asahan,” he said.
(Even if we don't get along politically, maybe we can get along with the goal of beautifying the Philippines. Let’s start there. Let us make it a stepping stone to reach our united dream of lifting the country from its collapse. It is only unity that we can expect.) —LBG, GMA News