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Speed bump

Resort owners seeking SC help to halt Samal Bridge construction: DENR exec

By Lordee Gomez and Queeni Caay/UM Interns


A PETITION filed by the affected resort owners before the Supreme Court risks scuttling the preparations for the 3.98-kilometer Samal Island-Davao City Connector (Samal Bridge). 

However, for the Department of Public Works and Highways, the petition is only a minor speed bump. 

According to Bagani Fidel A. Evasco, Department of Environment and Natural Resources XI regional executive director,  petitioners Rodriguez et. al reportedly elevated their writ of continuing mandamus case before the Supreme Court. 

A writ of continuing mandamus is a legal relief in an environmental case directing the government or its officers to carry out several decreed acts until final judgment is rendered. 

“Ongoing ang (the) MMT or the multi-monitoring team. But as of today, no movement yet until such time naay (there is) finality gikan sa (from the) court,” Evasco told the City Council during its regular session on Tuesday, May 16.

DPWH XI spokesperson Dean Ortiz said the petition filed before the Supreme Court is an appeal to overturn the dismissal of the same case by the Court of Appeals.

“The Department respects everyone’s right to file whatever legal relief they may seek to avail. However, we can only cease our operations if and when the Court issues an order to do so,” he said. 

In fact, the agency’s Bureau of Design expects the contractor to submit a detailed engineering design for Samal Bridge’s foundations by the end of this month. 

“This means that we might be able to secure the approved plans for the foundation structures by June or July this year,” Ortiz added. “Once we have the approved plans, we will immediately advise the contractor to commence with the construction works.”

The construction works will start in the onshore (inland) areas on the Davao and Samal sides. 

While the preparations met some delays due to right-of-way concerns, the DPWH XI is sticking to its target completion of August 30, 2027.

“As far as we are concerned, the project is suspended only because of RROW (road right of way) issues. We have yet to receive a TRO from the SC, if there’s any,” he added. 

The DPWH and China Road and Bridge Corp. signed a P19.32 billion contract for the design and construction of the Samal Bridge in January 2021. The deal is a prerequisite for obtaining a loan agreement from China.

In October 2022, the Lucas-Rodriguez family, which owns Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort and Costa Marina Beach Resort, cried harassment after allegedly Chinese contractors and government personnel brought “armed men” while trespassing on their properties.

The families asked for realignment of the bridge’s landing on the Samal side as it will settle between the two beach resorts. 

Meanwhile, Evasco said no foreshore lease agreements would be affected if the construction pushes through as planned. 

“In Davao City, wala man tay (we have no) foreshore lease agreement diri sa (here in) Davao City,” he uttered.




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