Once the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge (BCIB) is completed, the private sector may assume complete responsibility for its operations and maintenance, including any outstanding debt, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said the government is exploring the possibility of transferring the debt associated with the construction of the 32.15-kilometer bridge across Manila Bay to the private sector.

“If it’s [BICB] profitable, it may be attractive to the private sector,” Balisacan told reporters on the sidelines of the 2024 Annual Reception for the Banking Community late Friday, Jan. 26.

“Even the debt can be transferred to the private sector so they can continue the servicing, so they can pay back the debt,” he added.

Currently, the government is still on the lookout for potential bidders for the bridge’s constructions, which is expected to commence this year.

The NEDA chief said that they are hoping to finish the bridge within the term of the Marcos administration.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) earlier approved a $2.1 billion financing for the construction of the bridge that will link Metro Manila to Central Luzon, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces across Manila Bay.

The ADB will finance the bridge through a multitranche financing facility, with the first tranche amounting to $650 million.

It is expected to cut travel time between Cavite and Bataan to around 30 minutes from 5 hours at present, the NEDA earlier said.

“We also expect this to decongest traffic in Metro Manila since travelers going to and from either Bataan or Cavite who would typically pass through Manila could pass through the BCIB instead,” the NEDA chief said last year.

In addition, it is set to be the longest bridge in the country, longer than the 8.9-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Bridge and the 2.1-kilometer San Juanico Bridge.

BY XANDER DAVE CEBALLOS
Jan 28, 2024