Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte broke ground for one of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects, the future Panguil Bay Bridge (PBB) that will connect on 3.7 km two provinces in Northern Mindanao.
The future Panguil Bay Bridge (PBB) project will connect Tubod in Lanao Del Norte province and Tangub City in the province of Misamis Occidental. Both provinces are located in Northern Mindanao. The total investment is estimated at PHP7.8 billion, or US$386 million.
Funded under the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Agreement, PBB is being built in consultation with Yooshin Engineering Corporation in joint venture with Pyunhwa Engineering Consultants Ltd., and Kyong-Ho Engineering and Architect Co. Ltd. who won the bidding under the Philippine Government procurement program.
The ground breaking ceremony was attended by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in presence of local officials led by Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, Tubod Mayor Leoncio Bagol, along with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar and Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han-Dong Man.
State Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways Villar declared that the two-lane 3.7 kilometer bridge will shorten travel time between the two provinces to seven minutes from one and a half hour. Currently vehicles need to take a barge from Mukas Port in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte to Ozamis City.
“PBB, which is expected to be completed in 2021, is the first of 16 bridges to be built that will connect Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao under the Duterte administration’s flagship ‘Build, Build, Build’ program,” Villar indicated.
DPWH earlier confirmed that the road right-of-way issues on both sides of the bridge have already been addressed.
Duterte, in his speech, thanked the Republic of Korea. “This is their gift for us and there’s more. Korea has a special attachment to the Filipino people. You know why? We fought in the Korean war and a lot of Filipinos died,” Duterte said.
He said the bridge will also shorten trips from Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City to the cities of Ozamis, Oroquieta, Dipolog and Dapitan, which will eventually improve the local economy.
The Lanao del Norte Provincial Government indicated that the project of the bridge has been on the table for over 30 years. ” It is a dream coming true that had just happened here,” Lanao del Norte Governor Quibranza-Dimaporo said.
Panguil Bay Bridge is expected to bring investors to Lanao del Norte. The province has close to 700,000 inhabitants and is Lanao del Norte is characterizes for the diversity of its landscapes which range from a coastal shorelines in the north to high plateaus and mountains in the south. For visitors, the Province has a wide range of lakes, waterfalls as well as caves to explore.
It is also home to the Maranaos ethnic, known to be of Malay-Arabic descent. Maranaos have a culture which makes them distinct from the other Filipinos. They have their own language, customs, traditions, religion, social system, music and architecture that remain unaltered up to the present time.
“This bridge is like the door of investment, not only in Lanao del Norte but even in Misamis Occidental, Ozamis City and Tangub City. We have so many tourism attractions here. In fact, the bridge will also become a tourist destination because it has a design, it has a character and it’s the longest in the Philippines,” said the Governor.