Bridge project crucial in saving Boracay, says Ang

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is hoping to secure soon government approval for its P5.48 billion plan to construct a bridge connecting Malay, Aklan to Boracay island, saying the bridge infrastructure proposal is “the most important project” for the country’s flagship tourist destination.

“The Boracay bridge project is the most important component to save Boracay,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said, adding that “it needs to be pushed to be approved by the government.”

Ang said having the proposed 1.2-kilometer limited-access bridge infrastructure between Boracay Island and the main island of Panay would bring numerous advantages to the famous tourist spot as it would address sewage and flooding problems.

“If there is a bridge, 25,000 workers that lives in Boracay can live in Caticlan. That would be 25,000 less people who would generate waste there. That will clean it up, right?” he said.

“But there are some who are trying to block it for personal reason. I think we should set aside those personal reason,” Ang said.

The Boracay bridge project is an unsolicited proposal submitted by SMC, through San Miguel Holdings Corp., to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The DPWH said the proposal is still being evaluated, with the agency currently preparing the project evaluation forms including other ICC required documents for endorsement to the National Economic and Development Authority.

Plagued by environmental issues, Boracay island was closed from tourists for six months last year to pave way for its rehabilitation.

It soft opened on Oct. 26 and now follows a carrying capacity to ensure the sustainability of the island.

SMC’s Boracay bridge project is not envisioned to cater vehicular through-traffic so as not to congest the island, but will be provided with loading and unloading areas on both ends to process the movement of commuters, solid waste, goods and supplies.

The project aims to facilitate provision of a public transport access system, transport of solid waste and cargo through authorized trucks, as well as carriage of power, telecommunication, water supply and sewer utility lines.

Once constructed, the project is seen to manage environmental carrying capacity of the Boracay island and free-up it from pressures due to over-crowding and overuse of existing facilities which produces adverse environmental impact.

It is also expected to open-up a new all-weather access for vehicles and pedestrians which would encourage people to consider alternative accommodations and activity centers at the mainland.

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