Conglomerate San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) offer to build a bridge to Boracay Island could soon move forward with a key endorsement from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
SMC is due to bag an original proponent status from the DPWH within this quarter, said an official with knowledge of the matter.
As original proponent, SMC will have the right to match better offers and win the project in a Swiss Challenge process. The company will also need to obtain the final approval from the board of the National Economic and Development Authority, which is chaired by President Duterte.
The DPWH previously announced that SMC, a food, drinks and infrastructure giant, had submitted all the required documents for the bridge project. The DPWH’s certification was made on Jan. 29, 2019.
The project was described as a “limited access bridge infrastructure project” that would link the main island of Panay in Malay, Aklan and Boracay, a popular destination for local and international visitors that was closed for six months last year under a rehabilitation program ordered by President Duterte.
The project is not meant to significantly increase the tourist load in the island but to instead allow the easier flow of supplies and the removal of waste.
“The bridge is not envisioned to cater to vehicular through-traffic, so as not to congest the island, but will be provided with loading/unloading areas on both ends to process the movement of commuters, solid waste, goods and supplies,” the DPWH said.
The project will cost P5.48 billion, including right-of-way, and will be undertaken by San Miguel Holdings Corp., SMC’s infrastructure arm.
SMC also operates the Boracay Airport in Panay through concession-holder TransAire Development Holdings Corp.
SMC Holdings’ other assets include toll roads such as the South Luzon Expressway, Metro Manila Skyway, Naia Expressway, Star Tollway and the Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway. Its other projects include the Bulacan Bulk Water project, the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 and the Manila North Harbor project.