By Angeline Valencia
The newest public announcement on infrastructure projects in Bohol is the monorail system connecting Bohol Business Park to New Bohol Airport and nearby towns—Alburquerque, Corella and Maribojoc—to be expanded in the future.
Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator (PPDC), Atty. John Titus Vistal, said the monorail project is intended to improve connectivity within the area of coverage and directly supports the operation of the business park and airport to cater to the expected increase in tourists, and open business opportunities and competition.
Vistal, in a presentation of projects for Bohol during the Provincial Development Council (PDC) meeting, outlined other infrastructure plans designed to spur the province’s economic development.
On roads and bridges, the plan includes north-south backbone or circumferential road improvement or expansion throughout Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Mactan, Panglao, and Tagbilaran. Also eyed is the construction of inter-island bridges and roads through the highlands of Bohol under the Visayas Spatial Development Framework 2015-2045.
There is the 17.5-kilometer Bohol-Cebu Friendship Bridge, with an estimated cost of P47.5 billion, to and from Getafe town in Bohol and Cordova in Cebu. Another is the Bohol (Ubay)-Leyte (Maasin, Southern Leyte) Bridge, connecting the two provinces with estimated cost of P130 billion.
Three new major bridges will also be constructed in Bohol: The 1.4-kilometer Tagbilaran City to Panglao Island Bridge which is now under FS, with P25 million DPWH fund released and will have its Tagbilaran point in Poblacion II and Dauis point at Barangay Totolan; the 1.2-kilometer Ubay-Pres. Carlos P. Garcia Bridge linking Union in Ubay and Popoo in Carlos P. Garcia town; and the one-kilometer Talibon-Bien Unido Bridge to connect Nueva Estrella in Bien Unido and San Isidro, Talibon.
Also included will be paved roads passing through the scenic highlands of Getafe, Talibon and Trinidad which is potential for investments in real property development and socio-economic services.
On airport development, the New Bohol International Airport is highlighted with its plan having been expanded to a two-storey building and extension of runway. The civil works for the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environmental Protection Project has been going on and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2018.
Its project total cost estimates reached over P7.44 billion and the funding sources are the JICA Special Terms for Economic Partnership providing P5.862 billion, and the Philippine government with at least P1.578 billion.
The Ubay Airport Development, with initial investment of P56 million from CAAP, is open for public-private partnership; and will be intended for general aviation, training and flying school, and transport services for agri-business and tourism.
On stabilizing power supply, the PPDC bared the Cebu-Bohol Inter-connection on February 2021; the Tagbilaran substation in December 2020; and feasibility study (FS) on Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection.
It was also announced during the PDC meeting that the Bohol Island Power Development Plan (BIPDP) shall comprise Power Supply Plan (generation plan); Transmission Development Plan (TDP); Distribution Development Plan/s (DDP); and Electrification Plan.
Potential sites for the construction of Bohol’s own power source or plants are Ubay, Alicia, and Jagna towns. The BIPDP also includes upgrading ofUbay and Corella substations in 2020; the capacitor in Corella and the Tagbilaran 69-kV substation.
The power generation projects using appropriate technologies in suitable areas of the province include formulation of a long-term Bohol Island Power Development Plan (BIPDP) to ensure security of supply–-available when needed; reliability and resiliency (climate-proof) of supply; and affordability (least-cost).
According to Governor Edgar Chatto, the province welcomes private sector investments for power facilities intended to install new capacity for meeting the base-load requirement of distribution localities; to sell to the grid; and to serve the requirements of off-grid or other specific users in Bohol.
Potential sites for power supply development are Danao (Cantakoy Hydro Power); Loboc (Loboc Hydro Power); Balilihan (Janopol Hydro); Antequera (Inambacan); Garcia Hernandez (Upper and Lower Manaba); Jagna (Balili and Odiong); San Isidro (Caimbang); Duero (Alijawan); and Ubay (Gabi and Asinan).
On seaports development, the projects are the Loon Port Development Project (or the international cruise ship port in Catagbacan, Loon) that will be implemented with an initial investment of P200 million from the Philippine Ports Authority.
Already implemented, from last year until 2025, are the P55-million improvement of Ubay Port linking Maasin Port in Southern Leyte; the P750-million Tagbilaran Port Project covering improvement of seaport facilities; the P250-million Tubigon Port Project also for improvement of seaport facilities, and the P15-million Ubay (Tapal) Seaport Project.
On the other hand, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and Globe Telecom have completed upgrading Bohol’s connectivity to the national fiber optic node into fully-protected submarine cables that go through different routes and are ready for commercial use, according to the PDC. (FREEMAN)