SMC bent on pursuing Boracay bridge project
Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) wants to pursue its P5.5-billion Boracay bridge project despite the opposition of the governor of Aklan province.
The 1.2-kilometer bridge project will open the resort island to road access from the main province of Aklan in Visayas.
SMC Ramon S. Ang said the bridge proposal, which was submitted to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), was not meant to increase tourism in the island but to decongest it and address water and sewage issues.
“This is the most important component to save Boracay,” Ang told reporters in an interview.
Boracay Island, which lures about two million visitors yearly, was closed for six months last year under a rehabilitation program ordered by the President.
Ang said SMC’s bridge project would contain pipes to remove sewage and provide fresh water to Boracay while trucks could easily move solid waste off the island.
Ang said the project would allow about 25,000 workers in Boracay to live in Caticlan, further decongesting Boracay. SMC also operates the Caticlan Airport, also known as Boracay Airport.
“There are many advantages to this bridge,” Ang said.
Not all stakeholders agree. Last month, Aklan governor Florencio Miraflores expressed his opposition to SMC’s unsolicited proposal, local reports showed.
Instead of a bridge, Miraflores preferred an integrated seaport on the main province. The facility will also have provisions for cruise ships, he said.
During the interview, Ang alluded to certain individuals who were blocking the project for “personal reasons.”
“I think we should set aside those personal reasons,” he said.
The DPWH is currently reviewing the proposal submitted by SMC subsidiary San Miguel Holdings Corp. The department, on Jan. 29, said SMC was compliant with all the required documents for the bridge project.
SMC still needs to secure an original proponent status from the DPWH before the project can be reviewed by the National Economic and Development Authority.
The bridge project is part of the food and beverage giant’s ongoing diversification into infrastructure.
SMC Holdings’ other assets include toll roads such as the South Luzon Expressway, Metro Manila Skyway, Naia Expressway, Star Tollway and the Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway.
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