Davao-Samal bridge: at what cost?

In last Monday’s issue of Edge Davao, my fellow columnist, Mr. Aurelio Peña of Trading Post, wrote about the planned bridge that will span the gulf from mainland Davao to the island of Samal. We haven’t even finished rebuilding Bankerohan Bridge yet… but I digress.

Mr. Peña’s article was entitled “Arab money to build Davao-Samal bridge“. I am not entirely familiar with his style or tone, but he seemed to be extolling the virtues of this investment broker, M. Faisal Kasim, who is reportedly bent on getting the bridge project jump-started. He was described as being an impatient man.

Mr. Peña proceeded to enthusiastically relate what he probably perceives will take place once the P65-billion bridge is completed, made possible by funding coming from Arab countries with ridiculous excesses of dinero, brought on by the “spiraling cost of oil.” Huh? Come again? Allow me to quote that passage:

Faisal told this writer that Arab money in trillions of US dollars are flooding the Middle East due to the spiralling [sic] cost of oil — and Arabs don’t know what to do with all that money.

Wait. The tone is definitely confusing. Was the writer empathizing with the oil-producing Arab countries? Shouldn’t he have said, ‘…due to the ghastly price of oil they charge their nation-clients’?

If the bridge ever does get built with that funding, the money would be what’s called Shariah Money, according to the article. In other words, a loan without interest, because it is normally against Islamic belief to charge interest on borrowed money (aka usury). So, we pay for the oil at artificially high rates, but we get our money back by way of a goodwill loan…

Back to Mr. Peña’s enthusiasm. He says in his article that the creditors, to be assembled together by Faisal, would recoup their investment by way of toll fees and other such schemes. Faisal, according to Mr. Peña, might also be inclined to invest in hotels, resorts, malls with his “oodles and oodles of Arab money.”

But what of Samal? Can its ecosystem survive this onslaught of economic development? Here’s another quote:

Their (the creditors’) feasibility studies show that the Arab money lenders will get their money back (without any interest) and will feel good about it because it was put to good use and helped a beautiful, booming island called Samal…

Hmmm… we’re getting cash from money lenders? Ok, I’m nitpicking now. (But really, journalists — especially opinion writers — should watch their verbiage lest their meaning be misunderstood.)

Mr. Peña’s column begs the question, “Where’s the ‘kick’ part of the prose?”

Samal IslandNot that I’m always looking for the negative side of things, mind you, but the article was written somehow like it was sugar-coated — that’s why I’m blogging about it. What of the ill effects of rapid infrastructure development without proper environmental protection measures in place? What of the displacement of people? What of the political issues?

What do you think?

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36 Responses to “Davao-Samal bridge: at what cost?”

  1. Randy C says:

    Interesting article and thanks for posting it, since I can’t read The Edge online yet.

    There was an article on PIA today that spoke to the fact that Samal Island needs power and water development more than the bridge. It will be interesting to see how fast some of these developments happen and to what extent the area can handle it.

  2. Blogie says:

    Hello Randy. Edge Davao’s website is still pending approval. It will be at http://www.edgedavao.com — soon, I hope!

  3. Randy C says:

    Thanks, Blogie. That’s great news for those of us not in the area.

  4. Blogie says:

    Hey Randy, interesting blog you got there! :) Do you know Bob Martin? He’s coming up with a Samal site very soon. I’ll announce it here once it’s up.

  5. Mindanao Bob says:

    Hi Blogie – Yeah, Randy C is a friend of mine. As a matter of fact, he bought the land adjacent to ours in Samal, so, we will hopefully be neighbors sometime in the future!

  6. Randy C says:

    Hi Blogie – yeah, Bob mentioned he had something up his sleeve but hadn’t given me the details yet. Kinda guessed though.

    Bob and Feyma are the ones that got me looking at Samal, so I blame him for my blog wink

  7. Blogie says:

    I see! Well, let’s all go have coffee when all of us are in Davao. :)

  8. bong austero says:

    just dropping by to say hi! hope your are doing well.

  9. Blogie says:

    Hey Bong, thanks! I’m doing just fine. :)

  10. joshua mabunga says:

    Davao samal bridge must be start soon, so that more investors will come to davao city and island garden city

  11. amren says:

    I just wished the bridge linking davao to samal will be realized soon. Huwag na kayong mag comments, environmental effects, political issue or what not will of course be addressed before everything gets done. kaya nga mayroong feasibilty study. dudumugin ng tourista ang davao, do you people like that. of course the local government must ensure that apart from development, their environment must be protected as well. The progress of the place will be for the benefit of the people.When tourism industry booms there, people would have better living condition.Diyos KO!!!itigil nyo na ang pagiging Filibuster ninyo!!!LOOK at Greece their bridge linking mainlang to the peloponese island….everything lies on the political of our leaders along with the support of the locals!!!

  12. joshua mabunga says:

    ok for me may bridge man o wla, as long davao city will the best among the rest cities, now where the most competitive metro cities in the phil, so what more can i ask for? bridge or no bridge ok lng….

  13. Leave alone Samal says:

    Samal Island is one of prime jewels of Davao, to build a bridge would mean alot of traffic, pollution, and just ala carte of concrete structures all over.

    Its really removing the scenic and magic of just being an island and island alone.

    If they (whomever: local or others) really want to invest, connections underwater, pipeline, cables, and port upgrades are possible.

    Remember, Davao has become from all what has it been. It is not Manila, nor Cebu, nor any comparison to other cities.

    Keep it Davao.

    • Samal Island says:

      I agree,leave samal island alone. Do not compare Davao or Samal to any other cities and island in the philippines. Dont wait for samal island become a pollutated city in the country. Let Samal Island as it is. Hwag kayo masyado ambisyoso para sa pang sariling kapakanan, isipin ninyo ang susunod hererasyon, hwag lang ang ngayon. Bridge could distruct and ruin Samal Island. Samal Island is a Paradise Island of the South, the jewel of Davao. STOP BRIDGE….

  14. Donna says:

    if they’re gonna put up the bridge, I’d surely miss riding the boats.Call me crazy but it’s one of the adventures i look forward to every time i hop on the island..i wonder what the boat operators have to say about this. i’m worried about their livelihood.

  15. Hannah says:

    I’m not really sure how good of an idea it would be to put a bridge linking Samal Island to Davao City. I think it’ll just add traffic. Perhaps they should just worry about what’s necessary like available services for the residences in Samal Island. What concerns me more however is the funding. Is there something else behind it? I know there are good hearted people in the world with good intentions, but come on, P65 billion? Something to really think about.

  16. rashid says:

    hey guys! just want to know the status of the project, if it has been started, etc.? A lot of thanks for any information.

    • Blogie says:

      Hello, rashid. It’s been more than a year since I posted this article, but I haven’t heard anything again about the “project”. I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      • rashid says:

        Thanks a lot Sir Blogie! So what do you think, will they (M. Faisal Kasim MCC Capital Porects) still continue to finance or pursue the project? I heard his group is also interested to finance a railway system for Davao? Is there any progress on this two (2) projects going on Sir?

  17. manokristo says:

    Hi Randy C,
    If the bridge will be constructed, the problem of water and power will be immediately solved as it is now easy for power companies to link power lines without need of submarine cables. Water can be tap easily from Davao City.

    Hanna & Donna were maybe Balgayan or Duterte followers, if not Fliorendos. They were controlling Samal Island. Bangayan & Duterte (Mayor) are partners in business. Of course, they opposed the construction of Bridge because it would me bye…bye… ferry boat and will realy affect their Island Express Bus operation.

    Of course, the Samal politician who received P 100,000 monthly payola from ferry operator would be sad if the bridge will be constructed as well as the city officials who are free of ferry fair back and forth plus december bonuses. Besides, the construction of the bridge will pave the way of exodus of people to Samal. That means new faces, then a new leaders. Local politicians are afraid of it. They were afraid of having new leaders who have the heart of bringing genuine development of Samal because it threathen them.

    Mayor Duterte is afraid becasue his beaches in Davao will be affected should a bridge will be constructed. Just observe the exodus of local tourist from Davao in Ferry during weekends, it will like a rushing Davao river.Besides, it affect his interest in Bangayan group. (Samalinyos now starting to convince relatives living in Davao to vote Nogie).

    In short, Duterte, Bangayan, and Floirendo opposed the bridge becasue the are controlling Samal Island. They wanted the peopel to remain poor so that they can control the island perpetually.

    For Hanna,you can still swim from Davao to Samal even if the bridge will be constructed. Nothing can stop you from hiring a banca should you opt for it.

    The construction of Samal bridge cannot be ascertain unless a leader with political will be produce by Samalinyos. Orly Amit and Al David Uy were Bangayan soldiers protecting thier interest in Samal. Aning Antalan is Floirendo boy.

    Please dont fool the world. Samal Island needs the bridge. We need it! Of course so many supreme reasons that human can think.

    • Isamal says:

      Yup! Manokristo is right. The Island Express is now serving up to Kaputian District leaving the Habal-habal driver with dust and tears! What’s next now? What will be the intervention of the City Government for the displaced skylab drivers who, most of their motorcylce, were purchased on account/installment basis?

      There are hundreds of skylab drivers who were now playing Penaplata, Del Monte, ANonang, and Kaputian route who are displaced.

      Mr. Politician, where are you? The policy-making body of the island what are your intervention for the thousand families of these poor skylab drivers?

    • Samal Island says:

      For Manokristo, Yes putting a bridge that connects samal island to davao city its sounds good, the question is, what would be significant of the island? Where’s Samal island? And why do we blamed to the politician, thier business interest? rather think it over the ill-effect if there’s a bridge? Samal Island would be the garbage basket/disposal area of davao. Samal Island will be become populuted becuase of the garbage that people from davao brings those to samal island. Are you aware of that? Garbage is the primarily problem if the bridge will be constructed. Samal Island will not an island anymore. Be sensitive also Manokristo. I am against the bridged, though I am from Samal-born and raise. I enjoy staying in quite, secluded samal island, I love the serenity and tranquility. All of these will be gone if we allow bridge to connect davao city. I am not againts of the island bus and the ferry, its just an alternative of transportation, that people from samal has a choice of thier transportation. Kudos to NO TO BRIDGE CAMPAIGN….. MABUHAY……..

      • manokristo says:

        You call yourself Samal Island but you are so insensitive with the economic condition of the people. I am dead certain that you are a businessman/woman who just bought/rent property (resort) in the island but never understand what the people of the island really needs.

        You just come over and relax, enjoy our beaches, serinity and transquility as you have mentioned.

        But wait, have you tried visiting your neighbors if they have food in their tables? If their childrens were in schools? If thier dwelling can be reckoned living with dignity?

        Samalinyo hates people who treat Samal Island as place of luxury without regard to the longstanding problem of the island especially employment matters.

        What is important then? Luxury of serenity and transquility or employment, food for the mouth, education for the children.

        Is garbage a problem of Samal Island? That is bum idea! Where? Dont pretend that Samal Island garbage is worst than Davao City, Panabo even Tagum! Dont fool the world! The world cant be fool by your personal interest.

        Of course, garbage can be a problem of any developing city. But are you trying to tell the world that FEAR OF GARBAGE suffice to reason that Samal Island abort the bridge plan? That’s a bum idea!I invite you to come to Sto. Tomas and learned thier solid waste management program. You know, if you will run for purok chairman and I am happen to be your neighbor I will not vote for you. Samal Island do not need negative thinker.

        What will be the advantages of bridge. The bridge will solve many island basic problem. First, power supply. Samal Island operates only 2-phase power supply via submarine cable. It should be 3-phase but the other line is malfunctioning and it needs over P 100M to fix. Infact, DANECO ask the City Council to counterpart a millions of peso for it. That is why, no midium size industry invested Samal Island becasue of unstable power supply. Second, water problem. Bridge will 101% solve water problem as it is now easy to connect water from Davao City thru the bridge. Third, employment will be solved as investor will start developing their interest in the island as soon as the bridge will be constructed. There are many investor like real estate developer, hotel owners, and restaurant owners etc who are just waiting for the bridge to be operational to start their project and that means employment for Samalinyo.

        The ordinary employees who cant afford to bring thier motorcycle to Davao City becasue of the prohibited fare of ferry boat, more dare, than Ozamis-Kolambugan route.

        The ordinary people who constructed family house were greatly affected by additional cost of transportation via ferry boat.

        They were a lot of major fire happened in the island but were ablaze to nil because Davao based fire fighter cannot cross the island easily.

        My neighbor who have heart attack dies on the ambulance becasue it takes him almost 2 hours of waiting for the ambulance to arrive and the stalled long quie in ferry terminal.

        And a million reasons!

        Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. Samal Island, kailangang pa bang sunogin ang bahay mo at 12 midnight or magka heart attack ka at 12 midnight for you to realize that Samal Island indeed need a bridge?

        Think about it! I challenge you for an open debate in freedom park about this matter together with your minions or instructor! Libre ko……….

  18. Islandborn says:

    Thanks for this blog. And thanks for the interest in Samal Island especially the bridge matter. I am already 50 years now and it was my father’s dream to have the bridge serving the island.

    Singapore and Malaysia connected by a bridge and their respective country grows rapidly. Mactan and Cebu prosper fast than before the bridge was constructed and right now the old bridge sired the Marcelo Fernan bridge, a fact that the bridge plays vital role in developing an island.

    The San Juanico Bridge of Samar and Leyte proved us that its construction was a key in developing the two island as it is now. No one could proved otherwise the vital role of San Juanico bridge in Samal and Leyte.

    Now come again in Samal Island! Please give Samal Island a break! We need a bridge now. A dreams from our fathers, our mothers, even ours when we are still young.

  19. Finally, a good article about this topic! I can’t believe I had to go thru like 20 blogs just to locate this good article. All their information jointly even now can’t equal the information of this post. I have learned a good deal and will bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

  20. john-john says:

    there will not be any bridge built within 20 years. politicians are vert slow in this country and dont forget bribes here and bribes there. no we are 20 years behind the rest of the world, that's just the way it is.

  21. boknoy says:

    The dream of Samal Island to Davao City bridge is now a dream of impossibility. With Mayor Aning and Vice Mayor Al David Uy winning respectively last May 10 election.

    Mayor Aning was bankrolled by Floreindos, a friendly partner of crimes with Bangayan and Vice Mayor AL David Uy financed by Bangayan Group who operated the ferry boat, simply the mere elementary calculation, the dreamed bridge for samal island connecting Davao City has finally nailed to remain a dream till another 3 years.

    Poor Samalenyos!

  22. sakpan says:





  23. bert says:

    people of samal as well as davao are hoping for this bridge to be built. Many advantages will be created for the years to come. But with the kind of government we have now a days, hahahah.. i don’t think this bridge can be build. In your dreams.. for all we know, those ferries operating from the time being were owned by politicians or have big commissions which can only benefited for themselves. forget about samal-davao bridge. our government don’t care for the people anyway, because if they are really sincere for a public service,they done this long time ago.

  24. tsolokoy says:

    In one Sp regular session of Samal Island, Vice Mayor Al David T. Uy admitted that one of his mission after schooling in Manila when be back to Davao is to man the ferry boat. He made a surprise admission that 40% of the income of ferry boat went to MARINA.

    WOW! That’s great! Precisely the reason why Samal-Davao ferry boat fair in the darest fair on the Philippines.

  25. lucimayo says:

    Yup your right bay! Mahal kaayu iyong ferry boat diha. That makes the dream of samalisland-davao bridge remain a dream. Kabalo ka why the present leadership do not care for that matter? Mayor Roger Antalan is a stock holder/owner of Mae Wess Corporation with Bangayan and Duterte’s.

    Sila ang die hard oppositor ana tapos naa pay buaya sa MARINA. Looy mo diha gi-hostage ang Samal Island sa whims and caprice of the ferry boat owners.

    During weekend mga 3-4 hours ang quie….mga bata looy kaayu malibang ra sa kilid sa kalsada in case personal necessity set in. And the Local Government of Samal is silent about that serious problem. Mga buta ug bungol mga opisyales diha or blinded with free ride of ferry boat, monthly payola, etc…

  26. greedy says:

    halo sakpan:

    You are right! District Kaputian Station Commander Medalla even conducted a cockfighting last January fiesta of Poblacion of Kaputian without any permit and yet nobody mind it even the City Economic Enterprises and Licensing Office.

    Medalla’s knowledge on the hidden wealth of Mayor Aning Antalan become a two-edge sword for him to escape government laws. Tingnan nyo mga taga-PNP National Office, the Police Station of Kaputian is like a cockfighting farm because Medalla raised numerous fighting cocks there.

  27. pugot says:

    New Aning Goldmine is in Tagdaliao where he again build a multi-million rest house overlooking Davao Gulf. From the proposed Penaplata Public Terminal and Market, East of that place you can see a beautiful multi-million building just build,the only one house there, is Mayor Aning secret wealth. Reportedly, he named that property after his wife Gemma Sangarious Antalan, a barangay kagawad in Mambago-B. Mayor Aning build two (2) multi-million houses one (1) in Lanang and in Samal during his first year as Mayor of his 2nd term!

    WOW! Katas yan ng Intelligence Fund! Kawawa taga-Samal Island!

  28. esyot says:

    Somebody told me that the COA was so disgusted why Vice Mayor AL David T. Uy of Samal Island keeps on following up the pre-audit approval of the proposed Public Market and Terminal in Penaplata. What is his business there?

    Too young yet too….(lam u na)

    Sana magkaroon siya ng delikadeza!

    I.F. ba yan na may 60:40 sharing in favor to the LCE?????

    Hayaan nalang natin sila…many of us believed in KARMA!


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