Mayor Isko Vows to Continue ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program; Plans to Turn Visayas Into an Economic Center with More Bridges*

Mayor Isko Vows to Continue ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program; Plans to Turn Visayas Into an Economic Center with More Bridges*

MANILA — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso will continue and build on the success of the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program as he vowed to make it even faster and expand its coverage all over the country in order to create more jobs and opportunities for growth everywhere.

“Pag meron bagong tulay, highway, airport, sea port, at MRT, siguradong nandyan ang maraming trabaho at maraming opportunity para mas kumita ang tao. Yan naman ang prayoridad ng aking administrasyon, Buhay at Kabuhayan,” Moreno said Saturday.

The Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer is on a two-day “Listening Tour” in this Central Visayas province where he met with various sectors to hear their experiences in the pandemic and how they were able to recover under the leadership of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

Moreno was with Gov. Garcia Saturday as they visited the Cebu-Cordova Bridge, which will officially be the longest bridge in the country once completed. The San Juanico Bridge in Eastern Visayas is only 2.16 km.

The Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEx) is a toll facility spanning 8.98 kilometers that connects Mactan Island via the Municipality of Cordova to Mainland Cebu, consisting of the main span bridge, a viaduct, and causeway. The Project cost is currently at P30B. Construction started on January 8, 2018, and completion is expected in March 2022.

Moreno’s visit to Cebu made him realize that if prioritized by the national government, islands like Cebu could be connected to Bohol, which could pave the way for easier exchange of goods. And this could be done by the building of bridges that will serve as tourism circuits and tourism highways as spelled out under the Bilis Kilos 10-Point Agenda for Governance under an Isko Moreno presidency.

“Just imagine if we can build a bridge wherein Bohol and Cebu are being connected? The islands of the Visayas are connected by bridges, which is not rocket science. It’s a matter of priority by the national government,” Moreno told reporters here.

Connectivity in the Visayas would require the building of the Tagbilaran-Panglao Link Bridge; Panay Guimaras-Negros Link Bridge; Cebu-Bohol Link Bridge; Cebu-Negros Link Bridge; Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge and Leyte-Surigao Link Bridge.

Moreno said connectivity across the region will not only boost its tourism sector but also turn it into an economic center, similar to Metro Manila.

“Kapag iyon nangyare at naging sentro ng susunod na administrasyon na pagdikit-dikitin ang Visayas, hindi na lamang Luzon ang ating economic center. Visayas can be an economic center,” he said.

Moreno noted that based on their data, 60% of the country’s economy was from Metro Manila, which proved to be a challenge during the pandemic.

Cebu will particularly benefit from these infrastructure projects, particularly its tourism sector. Moreno had said that out of the 8 million foreign tourists in the Philippines in 2019, 35% or 2.8 million tourists visited.

The Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) was submitted in 2018 as an unsolicited proposal under the PPP ordinances of the City of Cebu and the Municipality of Cordova and is locally implemented, undertaken pursuant to the Local Government Code.

A joint venture between and among Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (later on assigned to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp.), the City of Cebu, and the Municipality of Cordova, was, subsequently, formed as the project vehicle.

All cash infusion comes from the private proponent and the LGUs’ contribution is in the form of land, if any, owned by the LGUs which may be needed for right-of-way (ROW) purposes. Toll implementation will be done via a local toll regulatory council, created by the respective ordinances of the two LGUs.

Under an “Isko Moreno Presidency,” Public-Private Partnership (PPP) will also continue both national and local like what happened to the CCLEX.

“We need the private sector to invest more in infrastructure and they can build fast and it will save government resources which it can use for social services like health care and education,” said Moreno.

Moreno has also promised to continue the “Build, Build, Build” program of the current administration, aligned with his plans to build more vertical mass housing, world-class hospitals and modern schools as this construction boom will create more job opportunities.

(Kiara Lauren Ibanez/BENJAMIN CUARESMA/ai/mtvn)

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