The groundbreaking event of the Cebu-Cordova toll bridge on March 2 may be made more special with the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte, the former mayor of Cordova, Adelino Sitoy, revealed. Sitoy currently heads the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office or PLLO.
“I’m planning to bring him to the SRP (South Road Properties) so he can get a view of Shell Island as well as the flag that will be used in the groundbreaking,” Sitoy told Cebu Daily News during a phone interview on Tuesday, February 7, when he said he was told told of Duterte’s attendance, also on Tuesday.
Other Cabinet members allegedly expressed similar interest in the event, Sitoy added, and may also grace the occasion with the president. However, he admitted that Duterte still has no final itinerary for a Cebu visit. So far, his best effort at inviting the president to the occasion is what’s certain.
But according to Jonji Gonzales, who is chief of staff to the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, they have so far been notified of the visit. Thus, the possibility that preparation for the visit is underway.
Likewise, the office of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has been informed of Duterte’s possible appearance, according to Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, who is Osmena’s executive assistant. Fernandez “affirmed” Duterte’s visit, according to a news report, but the visit was said to be on an earlier date, which is February 15, or even earlier.
“President Duterte will be here to inaugurate the Cebu and Cordova sides (of the toll bridge),” Fernandez told reporters in a press conference. Thus, it may be that the groundbreaking may happen any day among the said dates. This presidential Cebu visit makes it Duterte’s third since he became president in July last year.
The president first visited Cebu in August 2016 during his talk with soldiers at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command headquarters located in Camp Lapu-Lapu. Lahug, Cebu City. His second was only last month during a stopover dinner with Gov. Hilario Davide III at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Airbase. This was after Duterte had visited victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City.
Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corporation (MPTDC) signed sometime in April last year an agreement involving the P27.9-billion worth Cebu-Cordova Bridge project. This is a joint venture with Cebu City and Cordova local governments. MPTDC is the toll road component of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.
The project scope is the construction, operation and upkeep of a bridge 8.25 kilometers long linking Cebu City to Mactan Island through Cordova. Fernandez expressed optimism about how the bridge can finally ease up traffic in Mandaue City, all the way to Mactan Island.
“Eighty percent of those going through Mandaue are not from Mandaue. They either go to the airport on Mactan Island or to Consolacion,” the executive assistant said.
The bridge is seen to reach completion by the year 2020. It will be set around 7.5 kilometers from south of the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge, rising from the Cebu South Coastal Road and crossing to Mactan Island via the Mactan channel.
The bridge will have two lanes in opposite directions, including the main bridge structure, causeway, viaduct, toll facilities and roadway.