The Public Works Department expects to grant “soon” the original proponent status to San Miguel Corp. for its proposal to build a 1.2-kilometer bridge from Caticlan to Boracay Island for P5.5 billion.
“We’re still finalizing the OPS. We are still processing it. We can expect the OPS definitely soon,” Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said over the weekend.
Villar said that once the OPS was issued, the agency would submit the proposal to the National Economic and Development Authority for final approval.
The project is a 1.2-kilometer limited-access bridge infrastructure between Boracay Island and Caticlan in Malay, Aklan in the main island of Panay.
The bridge is not envisioned to cater to vehicular through-traffic, so as not to congest the island. It will be provided with loading/unloading areas on both ends to process the movement of commuters, solid waste, goods and supplies.
San Miguel currently operates the Boracay Airport in Caticlan and is upgrading the airstrip into a world-class airport.
San Miguel president Ramon Ang said building the Caticlan-Boracay bridge would be a novel approach to resolve Boracay’s environmental woes and bring about growth to other areas in Aklan.
The bridge, he said, would reduce the need for tourists and tourism workers to stay on the island.
“Tourists and visitors will have the option to go to Boracay during the day and in the afternoon or at night for accommodations outside the island,” Ang said.
The accessibility of Boracay, through the proposed bridge, would enable developers to build hotels and resorts outside the island. These can be premiere destinations in their own right, as these areas also boast of beautiful beaches and coastlines, he said.
New establishments can be positioned as alternative or more affordable accommodations for tourists, Ang said. He said accommodations for workers could also be built.
Ang said with the new bridge, thousands of tourism workers from neighboring provinces would no longer need to reside in Boracay and contribute to the island’s population growth and, as a result, its waste.
“The development of neighboring areas would boost Aklan’s economy as a whole while keeping the island of Boracay sustainable for generations to come,” Ang said.
Ang said the construction of a bridge could also resolve the garbage and sewage problem on the island and could be used as a safe way to deliver sewage via pipes which would be built into the bridge design out of Boracay. Maintenance and repair will also be easier to manage, he said.
This will also resolve the garbage disposal issue, as daily refuse can be easily transported out of the island, removing the need to put up a dump site, he said.