Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge Pre-construction Works Loan Agreement OK

Jerry Treñas, Mayor of Iloilo City. | PHOTO: Official Facebook page

ILOILO CITY – Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas has welcomed the $56.6 million (2.96 billion pesos) loan agreement between the Korean and Philippine governments for pre- construction of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros (PGN) bridge project.

“This will clearly pave the way for the construction of the bridge (PGN) which, in turn, will lead to rapid development in the region,” Treñas said in a statement.

He said the implementation of the project is assured in the next administration as all presidential candidates have promised to push for the realization of the long-proposed project if elected.

The Ministry of Public Works announced on Wednesday that the Korean government, through the Korea Export-Import Bank (KEXIM), has extended the loan to the Philippine government for the 32.5-kilometer bridge project that will connect the three islands which have seven provinces. These include Antique, Aklan, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental in the Western Visayas and Negros Oriental in the Central Visayas.

A ceremony to exchange the loan agreement was held on Wednesday attended by officials from the two countries led by Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez III, Secretary of Public Works Roger Mercardo, Executive Director of KEXIM and Vice President of the Economic Development Cooperation Fund Taesoo Kim and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea. in the Philippines Inchul Kim.

The loan will finance engineering services, including preliminary design, detailed engineering design and procurement assistance that are required prior to construction of the bridges.

The Ministry of Finance has said that the actual construction could start in 2025.

Construction of the bridge has been pushed back since the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In 2012, 19 members of Congress from the Visayas passed a resolution asking the late former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to prioritize the construction of the bridge system.

“The construction of trans-link bridges will open up new economic opportunities, reduce transport and business transaction costs, increase access to social services and boost tourism throughout the Western Visayas region,” according to the resolution.

The implementation of the project has been blocked due to its cost and source of funding.

A 1999 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency pegged the cost of the project at 53.661 billion pula with a total span of 23.19 kilometers. This includes 14.173 billion pesos for the construction of the 2.59 km Panay-Guimaras bridge and 39.488 billion pesos for a 20.6 km bridge connecting the Guimaras and Negros islands.

A 2010 study by the Department of Public Works and Highways for a 13.16 kilometer bridge network estimated the cost at 28.496 billion pesos. This includes 3.6 kilometers for the Panay-Guimaras bridge at 9.438 billion pesos and a 9.56 km bridge to connect Guimaras and Negros at a cost of 19.08 billion pesos.

The span of 13.16 kilometers is the shortest among the target areas for building bridges. Based on this projected length, a bridge will be built to connect the town of Leganes in Iloilo to the town of Buenavista in Guimaras. Another bridge will connect the town of San Lorenzo in Guimaras to the town of Pulupandan in Negros Occidental.

/MUF

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Leslie M. Gill