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Davao-Samal Bridge project might do more harm than good says researchers


In a news article released by Sun.Star Davao on September 2, it was announced that the groundbreaking of the Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project, or Davao-Samal Bridge, is expected to be in January 2021, as said by Island Garden City of Samal Mayor Al David Uy.

Photo courtesy of DPWH Facebook page

With the proposed construction of the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge in 2021, the current proposed landing site of the said bridge in Samal Island is the Paradise Reef which spans beachfront properties from Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort to Costa Marina Beach Resort, endangering the coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and reef fish population in the area.

Save Paradise Reef is a campaign to realign the landing site of the bridge in Samal Island to a less environmentally damaging location. Save Paradise Reef aims to educate, promote, and protect the remaining marine biodiversity, not just in Paradise but in the entire island of Samal.

The landing site in Paradise Reef is home to rich marine life and coral reefs. In a recent marine science study conducted by highly-respected, credible and independent marine biologists led by Dr. Filipina Sotto, the Commissioner of the Philippine Commission on Sports SCUBA Diving (PCSSD), Dr. Cleto Nañola from the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, and Dr. Alfredo Medina, CEO of Carabao Divers, it was concluded that without any realignment, the Paradise Reef’s rich marine biodiversity will suffer irreparable, irremediable, and incalculable damage.

Behind this campaign is the Rodriguez Family, pioneering investors in Samal Island, and blessed with the environmental stewardship of Paradise Reef. The extended family has protected and preserved Paradise Reef as a de facto marine sanctuary as far back as the 1930s - or for almost 100 years, spanning 15 presidents of the country, and 24 terms of mayors since the founding of Samal Island as a municipality in 1948.

The Rodriguez Family wrote to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar to realign the SIDC Bridge’s landing site, as wrongfully-designed by Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong Ltd. - Philippine Branch (also known as Arup), in order to protect and preserve the Paradise Reef. To avert this enormous threat to the marine environment and food security and certain to cause unabated air and noise pollution to the serene beach areas, the Rodriguez Family has offered to donate to DPWH a portion of El Paril Beach Resort (formerly Lumos Property) as an alternative landing site with much less environmental impact.

Furthermore, the family strongly believes that Davao City would also be adversely affected by the current Arup alignment, which will ultimately destroy life in Paradise Reef. Traffic experts have asserted that on the Davao City-side, the location of the land portion for the bridge at Barangay Vince Hizon Sr. will cause horrendous traffic problems. The precise bridge alignment landing at Paradise Reef will emanate from along heavily traffic-congested R. Castillo St. and Lizada Road near Azuela Cove and South Bay Lumber Co. It will only worsen the terrible traffic conditions at this extremely busy portion of the Daang Maharlika Highway in Buhangin District, especially at peak hours.

“We believe that if we inform the concerned citizens of both Davao and Samal Island on the serious adverse consequences of Arup’s ill-designed bridge on both sides of Davao City and Samal Island, the people, as well as your good self, will be motivated to urgently act to serve and protect the public good before it is too late,” said Atty. Julito Sarmiento.

“Together with you and your well-respected organization, we can each contribute to build the SIDC Bridge consistent with sustainable development and the lessons from this pandemic crisis. We should harness, rather than destroy, the eco-tourism potential in IGaCoS, Davao Region and the Davao Gulf as a Key Marine Biodiversity Area so we can leave our lasting legacy to our next generation of Dabawenyos,” said Atty. Ramon Rodriguez Lucas.

You can support the Save Paradise Reef campaign through the following initiatives:

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