Antonio L. Colina IV (MindaNews)
DAVAO CITY – A P24.5-billion Davao City Expressway will be constructed to decongest traffic in the downtown area through a government-to-government deal.
Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) head Ivan Cortez told MindaNews on Tuesday that the expressway project is being handled by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and added that he is not aware of its timeline.
He said he is not yet sure whether this new government-to-government project will be undertaken by the Philippines with the support of the Chinese government but said the latter is very aggressive in pursuing it.
But a press release issued by Department of Finance (DOF) Saturday said Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and China Commerce Vice Minister Fu Ziying, who is also China’s International Trade Representative, formalized the agreement on the conduct of preliminary feasibility studies for the proposed Davao City Expressway and the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project.
Cortez said the 23.3-km expressway project will be constructed above ground and will be implemented in three phases.
The first phase will cover Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, Maa, Talomo, and Sta. Ana Wharf; second phase will include Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, Maa, Talomo, Panacan; and third phase, Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, Maa, Talomo, Bangkal.
These routes are just initial because the final routes will be based on the feasibility study that will be undertaken, Cortez said.
He said the objective of this latest infrastructure project is to decongest traffic within Davao City by connecting its port to the outer part of the city.
Cortez added it will also “complement ongoing, committed, and proposed projects for further enhancement and improvement of access that will encourage an increase in economic activities and productivity along its influence areas.”
He said that the City Government of Davao will play a coordinative role in this project – that is, to settle the properties and businesses that will be affected and expropriated as the construction of this project will commence.
“It will shorten the travel time of people if their usual travel route plan is between north and south of the city,” he said.
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Ernesto Pernia and Fu Ziying, China International Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce, signed the six-year development program that aimed to “steer and promote stable and orderly development of economic cooperation, enlarge the scope and enhance the level of cooperation, and drive sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development in both countries.”
Vice Minister Fu and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang were in Davao City for a four-day visit and met with some of the cabinet officials of President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday, among Dominguez, Pernia, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
In that meeting, the officials from China and the country’s economic managers discussed the recent economic developments in the country, the recently approved Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017 to 2022, and updates on bilateral cooperation in areas of infrastructure, trade, investments, agriculture, fishery, tourism, and financing cooperation between Philippines and China.
Also, China gave the Philippines $91-million worth of grant, which includes a $1-million donation for the earthquake-hit province of Surigao; a $75-million grant for the construction of the Binondo-Intramuros and the Estrella-Pantaleon bridges across the Pasig Rive; and the ongoing $15-million financing provided under the anti-illegal drugs and law enforcement security cooperation agreement signed last year between the two countries during President Duterte’s state visit to China October last year.