By Francis Allan L. Angelo
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) confirmed that the Korean Exim Bank has expressed interest in funding the first phase of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge or the Panay-Guimaras section spanning 13 kilometers.
During the budget briefing at the House of Representatives Friday, DPWH Manuel Bonoan answered the query of Uswag Ilonggo party list Rep. James “Jojo” Ang on the mega-bridge project.
Bonoan said the bridge project is one of the priority programs they intend to implement during the administration of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“We are in the process of getting the consultancy services for the detailed engineering design (DED) of the bridge under the technical assistance of Korean Exim Bank. Before the year ends, we hope to start the DED for the first segment,” he added.
While the Guimaras-Negros segment is also included in the DED, Bonoan said the Korean Exim Bank committed to funding the DED and civil works for the Iloilo-Guimaras segment “while we are still looking for funding for the Guimaras-Negros segment.”
The first phase (Panay-Guimaras) will only cost about P58 billion at today’s exchange rate while the second phase (Guimaras-Negros) will cost more than double or up to P120 billion.
On May 4, 2022, the Philippine and South Korean governments signed a loan agreement for the Engineering Services of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros (PGN) Island Bridges Project.
The signing was held at the Podium Floor of the Department of Finance Building on Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
Former Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III represented the Government of the Philippines in the loan signing ceremony, while Export Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) Executive Director and Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) Vice President Taesoo Kim represented the Republic of Korea.
The $56.6-million loan financed under the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) will be utilized for the Engineering Services of the PGN Bridges Project, which will include Preliminary Design & Feasibility Study Review, Detailed Engineering Design, and Procurement Assistance.
The detailed engineering design (DED) activities for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge will be implemented in the next two years with the submission of bids for the DED scheduled by the fourth week of September 2022.
Two groups have qualified to submit their bids – Yoshin Co. and Sambo Engineering and Construction Co.
The two companies are expected to submit their bid proposals for the DED until September 23, 2022.
The Notice to Proceed is expected by December this year and the DED will be finished in about 20 months.
The DED will be funded under a loan to be extended by the Korea Export-Import Bank.
The estimated cost for the DED will be about P3.3 billion. The loan will be payable for 40 years without interest.
The project involves the construction of a 32.47-kilometer bridge including two sea-crossing bridges spanning 5 kilometers for the Panay-Guimaras segment and 13.11kms for Guimaras-Negros section, he explained.
As to the Iloilo-Capiz-Aklan Expressway project or ICAEx, Bonoan said they also intend to expedite the project, but they are waiting for revisions to the Build-Operate-Transfer or BOT Law as the project will be implemented under the Public-Private Partnership mode.
“The moment that we clear out the IRR of the BOT law, we will continue to expedite the preparation of this project,” Bonoan said.
According to a press statement from the Iloilo provincial government, the ICAEx is proposed to be a full-access controlled toll expressway with four lanes composed of elevated roadways, viaducts, a tunnel and a long-span bridge. It has an estimated length of 210 kilometers, traversing 20 municipalities along three provinces (Iloilo, Capiz and Aklan) on Panay Island.
The ICAEx will start at Brgy. M.V. Hechanova in Leganes which is strategically located near the approach of the proposed Panay-Guimaras Bridge, a component of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge Project. The expressway will end in Malay, Aklan which is the gateway to the world-renowned Boracay Island.
ICAEx has the following project objectives:
– Reduction of travel time between the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz and Aklan.
– Elimination of congestion in existing highways by avoiding chokepoints in poblacion areas.
– Enhancement of logistics network to ease delivery of goods from source to destination.
– Improvement of delivery of emergency response in times of flooding as an effect of inclement weather.
– Provision of tourism development opportunities for various tourist attractions in Panay.
DPWH Director Alex G. Bote said they are finalizing the Terms of Reference (TOR) and Estimated Budget for the Contract (EBC) of the project.
Based on the timeline, it will take two years before the project could begin granting that an investor or concessionaire takes the project.
Bote noted that the investor or concessionaire will determine if the project is economically and financially viable on their part.