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WE were hoping to see former President Rodrigo R. Duterte during last Thursday’s ground breaking
ceremony for the multi-billion peso Samal Island-Davao City connector project. We were certain that he
was invited to attend the activity more so because the President of the country who succeeded him was

But Duterte appears true to himself. He probably thinks that his presence might steal a huge portion
of the attention that the people present during the occasion would have accorded the incumbent
President. Duterte is known to be that kind of person; one who does not want to grab credit or
attention for whom it is due even if he had a big role in the realization of a project.

Of course his children led by no less than his daughter Vice President and Department of Education
Secretary Sara Duterte, were with the President in the ground breaking rites. The former President must
have felt their presence was more than enough to manifest his warm welcome to his successor.
Meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on that Thursday Davao visit appeared to be doing a
characteristic Duterte itinerary. That is, spending time with the Filipino soldiers who are often far from
their families as part of their performance of duty, even as he tried to find time to meet his constituents.
All these are Duterte trademarks that endeared him to the people.

But can Marcos, Jr. do a Duterte up to the end of his term? Can he get a high trust rating from the
start of his administration up to the dying days of his term like what the Davaoeno former President had
accomplished? Certainly, it is worth waiting until 2028.


Much as we wanted to, we failed to attend the joint committee hearing conducted by the Davao City
Council on the Samal Island-Davao Connector (SIDC) project. We were restrained by some of our
responsibilities at home which is 31 kilometers away from the city proper.

But some of our friends who attended the hearing told us that the feasibility study undertaken by the
Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was among the many documents presented along
with the one done by the Hong Kong-based consultancy firm which is the one accepted by the Philippine
government for implementation.

Unfortunately, we were not told whether the JICA recommended design as basis for the earlier FS
was a 4-lane span like the design used by the Hong Kong-based ARUP consultant. But even if it was a 2-
lane bridge only, the cost which would likely double if it were a 4-lane connector is still much lesser that
the 4-lane design in the latter feasibility study – the one that broke ground yesterday.

Of course the P7 billion cost of the bridge in the JICA study was fair enough if indeed it was for 2 lanes
and shorter in length and with minimal private properties to be disturbed. But even if the design was for
a 4-lane bridge and the length is the same the cost’s figure could have only possibly doubled or a little
higher given the increase in cost of construction materials and labor. This, therefore, would have meant
a much better deal than that of the P23-billion China-funded SIDC.

But as they say, the government has already crossed its Rubicon. The President would not have come
if he is uncertain of the project’s readiness for implementation. It is even possible that no court would
want to appear anti-development by issuing a restraining order on the construction.
But of course any stakeholder has the right to seek redress of his or her grievances if he/she feels
aggrieved substantially.


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