Duterte breaks ground for two China grant-aid bridges

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DAVAO CITY (July 18) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday graced the groundbreaking ceremony of two bridges, which are seen to aid the government’s goal to prompt economic activities in the country.

In his speech, the President said the Binondo-Intramuros and the Estrella-Pantaleon bridges both represent the desire to use connectivity and mobility as catalysts for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.

He added that the two bridges will not only improve the capacity and the efficiency of Metro Manila’s transportation corridor by providing additional bridges and routes across Pasig River, but will also enhance the resilience of the country’s road network against natural disasters.

“The life of these bridges will be extended because they will become more resilient, thereby reducing bridge maintenance costs,” he said.

Highways Secretary Mark Villar said said the construction of the Binondo-Intramuros in Manila and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, which traverses the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong, aims to improve the capacity and efficiency of the road transport in the National Capital Region (NCR) by providing additional fixed links and routes crossing the Pasig River.

Duterte also noted that it will increase the transportation capacity of the Pasig River and contribute to local tourism due to the improved view of the riverine area.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other agencies concerned to ensure that the construction of the bridges will be finished within thirty months or earlier.

“As an important part of the Build, Build, Build Program, I expect you to fast track the implementation and execution of these bridges, as well as all other infrastructure projects already in the pipeline,” he said.

“Through our combined efforts, we will be able to expedite our infrastructure programs [that] will improve connectivity and mobility around the country. Together, let us join hands in uplifting the lives of our people [through] channels that will give [them] the decent and comfortable lives that our people rightfully [deserve],” the President further said.

During his speech, President Duterte expressed his appreciation to the People’s Republic of China for their generosity in funding the construction of the two bridges.

“As a friend, China has once again proved that they intend to join us in achieving lasting progress by addressing traffic congestion in Metro Manila,” he said.

“Indeed, the construction of these bridges will not just connect these very strategic areas, but will also contribute to our quest to spur vibrant economic activities through an efficient and reliable road transportation network,” he added.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, for his part, said the flagship project will further add strength to the Build, Build, Build initiative of the Philippines and will stand as a good example that the Filipinos are benefitting from the implementation of “your visionary blueprint of the Philippines.”

“With the up and running of the bridges, we will not only celebrate better connectivity in Metro Manila, but also celebrate the ever growing amity and friendship between our two countries,” the Chinese Ambassador said in his remarks during the ceremony.

The P1.229-billion Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge will replace the existing bridge connecting Estrella Street in Makati to Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong.

On the other hand, the P4.243-billion Binondo-Intramuros Bridge is a two-way four-lane bridge envisioned to provide Binondo district a new link to Intramuros and vice versa, according to DPWH.

Villar said the two China Grant-Aid projects are part of the Metro Manila Logistics Improvement Network, which intends to construct 12 new bridges crossing Pasig River, Marikina River, and Manggahan Floodway.

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