For an archipelagic country like the Philippines, bridges are essential infrastructure that connect islands, which are otherwise divided by waters. But bridges do not simply link an area to another, these are instruments of progress — improving access between towns, creating opportunities for growth, and connecting communities, thereby strengthening unity among Filipinos.
Under the Duterte Administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is relentless in constructing various infrastructure, including much-needed bridges in the cities and in the countryside.
During former Secretary Mark Villar’s term from 2016 to 2021, the DPWH was able to complete 5,950 bridges — of which 1,366 were widened, 355 constructed, 1,805 bridges retrofitted, 1,389 rehabilitated and 297 replaced. About 738 local bridges were also built.
The plan to decongest the National Capital Region includes the construction of 11 bridges under the Metro Manila Logistics Network. These bridges will provide alternative linkages between major thoroughfares and increase the number of usable roadways that would decongest traffic in major roads in Metro Manila, particularly EDSA.
The bridges included in this masterplan are: the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, Palanca-Villegas Bridge, North and South Harbor Bridge, Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, Kalayaan Bridge, Kabayani Street-Matandang Balara Bridge, Homeowners Drive-A. Bonifacio Avenue Bridge, Marcos Highway-Saint Mary Avenue Bridge, Lambingan Bridge, Guadalupe Bridge, and East Bank-West Bank Bridge 2.
With the completion of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge that links the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong across Pasig River, more than 9,000 vehicles per day are diverted from adjacent bridges, such as the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge and Guadalupe Bridge.
The Kalayaan Bridge is part of the BGC-Ortigas Center Link Road Project, which reduces the usual one-hour travel time between BGC and Ortigas Center to only 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, once completed, will help divert about 30,000 vehicles per day from adjacent bridges.
The “Build, Build, Build” program has also completed the construction of bridges in the different provinces of the country. Among those that had been finished are: the Lucban Bridge in Cagayan, Marcos Bridge in Marikina, Sicapo Bridge in Ilocos Norte, Pigalo Bridge in Isabela, Anduyan Bridge in La Union, Tallang Bridge along Cagayan, Bolo-Bolo Bridge in Misamis Oriental, Caguray Bridge in Occidental Mindoro, Tinongdan Bridge, Pasac-Culcul in Pampanga, Aganan Bridge in Iloilo, and Maddiangat Bridge in Nueva Vizcaya.
The Sicapo Bridge, along with the Tabbayagan and Madduang Bridges, form part of the Apayao-Ilocos Norte Road. This allows motorists from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to go to Ilocos Region, and vice versa, without having to pass by the Cagayan Valley Region, thereby cutting the travel time from 6.5 hours to just three hours.
The expanded Bolobolo Bridge in Misamis Oriental provides a smoother traffic flow in the area and benefits the local farmers in facilitating better transport of products to bigger markets in the city, and improve the travel experience of both locals and tourists to and from the province’s gateway, the Laguindingan International Airport.
The Aganan Bridge in Iloilo is one of the 467 bridges completed in Western Visayas. It will reduce travel time from the Municipality of Maasin to the Municipalities of Alimodian, San Miguel and the southern part of Iloilo Province by about 15 minutes.
Aside from the 5,950 bridges that have been completed, there are 1,859 more that are undergoing construction. All of these are part of the Duterte Administration’s efforts to bridge not only the physical gap, but also the growth disparity between islands and communities in the country.