STUMBLING BLOCK

Writ of Kalikasan eyed vs Davao-Samal Bridge project

Just when the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board approved the construction of the long standing Davao-Samal Bridge last November 29, another blockade stands in the way after an oppositor threatened to file a Writ of Kalikasan against the dream project.  

A Writ of Kalikasan is a legal remedy under Philippine law that provides protection of one’s constitutional right to a healthy environment, as outlined in Section 16, Article II of the Philippine Constitution, which states that the “state shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio told media that the project is already moving following the approval of NEDA Board but a new problem has emerged after a family in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) complained of Right Of Way (ROW).  

“Considered as nasugdan na siya (project) because na-approve na sa NEDA board, naa na ang design and all. The problem is naga-kontra ang isa ka family sa IGaCoS side sa Right Of Way (ROW) sa agianan sa bridge,” Duterte-Carpio said. 

In the Feasibility Study (FS) there were four areas identified to put up the bridge. Duterte-Carpio said it was decided that the bridge will be constructed in R. Castillo, Agdao which is the shortest distance connection from Davao to Samal. 

“Daghan ug gitun-an sa FS. Karon lang na finalize kung unsa na option ang gamiton. I think there’s about four or five areas identified where to put up the bridge. Tanan to naa pros and cons, ang final na napili is the shortest distance. Sa kataas sa IGaCoS ug Davao City daghan areas ang puwede. Ang gipili na area for the Davao-Samal connector is the shortest distance which is R. Castillo, Agdao and its front in the IGaCoS side,” she said. 

Duterte-Carpio also urged Davao media practitioners to better ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which is the proponent of the project. The letter of complaint of the said family was sent and addressed to DPWH. 

“I have a copy but the letter was not addressed to me that’s why I don’t think I have the right to release it. The last information I received was that the oppositor has plans to file a Writ of Kalikasan against the project. So we can expect delays for its construction,” she added. 

The P23.04 billion Davao-Samal connector will be funded through Official Development Assistance (ODA). Davao City and Samal Island are the beneficiaries of the project. 

During her State of the City Address (SOCA) on October 14, last year, Duterte-Carpio has called on the NEDA Board to act on the proposed bridge that will connect the IGaCoS to Davao City.