A new bridge connecting Binondo and Intramuros was inaugurated last week by President Duterte. The bridge does not only link two of the busiest and most historical districts in Manila, but also links two countries who have a shared history of friendship, cooperation, and understanding.
The 680-meter bridge has four lanes and measures 70 meters long and 21.65 meters wide. Described as “state-of-the-art” basket-handle tied steel arch bridge, this is one of two China-granted projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program of the administration.
During the inauguration, the President expressed his appreciation to the People’s Republic of China for the “confidence and being a partner in enhancing key infrastructure projects in the country.” “(With this bridge), our people are given a chance to experience economic growth and enhance productivity… it is our hope that present and future generations will enjoy enhanced mobility and connectivity through this innovative physical integration,” the President said.
With regard to mobility, the bridge is expected to benefit around 30,000 motorists daily who are traversing the two districts – linking Solana Street and Riverside Drive in Intramuros to Rentas Street, Plaza del Conde Street, and Muelle dela Industria in Binondo. It was not only designed to ease traffic in Manila, but to also promote “green” practices as it has a bicycle lane with thermoplastic road lines and protected sidewalks for joggers on both sides.
The President also underscored the cooperation between the two nations, that despite the tremendous challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, China remained steadfast in completing the bridge on schedule.
On this part, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian remarked that the bridge is the “16th government-to-government project completed between China and the Philippines since the start of the Duterte administration.”
“From the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, we can see our cooperation’s fruits and the bright future of our relations… we are willing to work with the Philippines to further deepen our cooperation for more benefit to our peoples,” said the ambassador.
The cooperation of the Philippines and China is not something new as trade between the two nations stretched as far back as the ninth century AD. Based on research from UNESCO’s archive, “commerce occurred via the maritime and land silk roads that spread from China through mainland Asia… and eventually into the Philippines. The earliest Chinese finds date from the late Tang Dynasty providing quantitative evidence of the Philippine share in maritime trade.”
Since then, the contribution of the Chinese people to Philippine history and nationhood became indelible, influencing our identity as a people and permeating different sectors of society – from culture, food, fashion to the way we do business and honor some Chinese traditions.
“(There will) surely be more cooperation projects in the future, bringing more benefits. We need to further cherish regional peace and stability, and value the hard-earned momentum of our relations,” Huang said. And in referring to the bridge, he noted that its design symbolizes “friendship between two nations, moving forward hand-in-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder, and connecting the past, present, and future.”
As the bridge will be illuminated at night, it will not only serve as Manila’s newest landmark; it will also become a bright symbol that a bridge can be built over troubled waters and that its steel-strong structure can remind all of us of the enduring friendship between two nations.