Editorial: Too many ‘third link’ proposals

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

A THIRD bridge connecting mainland Cebu with the island of Mactan is still being proposed and Cebu’s leaders are already maneuvering for advantage. This seems to be the process major projects go through nowadays. Consider the well-contested plan to construct a new passenger terminal at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

The other day, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama bristled over the proposal by former first district congressman Eduardo Gullas to build one end of the third bridge in Talisay City (the other end would be in Cordova town). The Gullases, Rama said, should rather think of a fourth bridge if they want their proposal realized.

Rama is obviously defending his turf. “It should be (built in) Cebu City because it is in the center,” he said. The first and the second Mactan-Mandaue bridges have one of their ends in Mandaue City.


The Infrastructure Development committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC) is actually still calling the proposed third bridge as the “third link” because the structure could be a tunnel and not a bridge. The IDC has tasked the Department of Public Works and Highways to conduct the pre-feasibility study on a “third link” proposal.

An underwater tunnel is also what Rep. Raul del Mar has envisioned when he filed a bill in the House of Representatives on the matter. He wants the entry and exit points of the tunnel to be in Cebu City (Gen. Maxilom Ave. Ext. or San Jose de la Montaña Ave.) and in Lapu-Lapu City instead of in Cordova.

Over at the Capitol, the Provincial Board authorized last year Gov. Hilario Davide III to negotiate with Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) for the conduct a feasibility study for a third bridge (not a tunnel). MPTC is a company of businessman Manny V. Pangilinan.

But only a few days ago, Pablo Villaber, who is president, general manager and chairman of Malayan Integrated Industries Corp., wrote Rama that his firm will revive the Cordova Reclamation and Development Project, which has as component a third Mandaue-Mactan bridge.

The Malayan proposal will have one end of the bridge built along M.J. Cuenco Ave. in Cebu City going to Shell island and then to Cordova. The firm will give the Cebu City Government three percent of the revenue from the proposed bridge.

When it comes to a “third link” between mainland Cebu and Mactan island, everything is still chaotic.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 27, 2014.


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