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Cobonpue: Subway to solve traffic woes

CEBU, Philippines — A subway system will permanently solve the traffic problem in Cebu, Central Visayas Regional Development Council chair Kenneth Cobonpue told The FREEMAN yesterday.

Following the approval of the Metro Manila Subway Project by the National Economic and Development Authority, Cobonpue deems it vital for Cebu to have the same transport system.

"I support it because a subway is the only permanent solution to our traffic problem," the official said Monday.

The RDC chair underscored that any solution that is built on existing roads "will fail" because Cebu's main road network is too congested already.

According to Cobonpue, Cebu's topography is only 15 percent flat terrain and 80 percent mountainous.

"So whatever new modes of transport we need to build should be underground," Cobonpue explained.

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Earlier,  NEDA approved the subway project in Metro Manila which will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and will terminate at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City and will have an initial investment of P355.6 billion.

The subway system is seen to reduce carbon emissions and enable greater mobility.

Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Dino earlier proposed a hybrid LRT-Subway project for Cebu.

The project proposal includes an LRT line that runs from the south of Cebu (outside the city), and transitions into a subway line traversing the Cebu City Center.

It then shifts again into an LRT line going north of the City.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier found this proposal conceptually better given the narrow streets of Cebu City.

Pernia had clarified that the LRT-Subway proposal will still have to undergo the rigorous and long processes of project proposal and approval.

As standard practice for all big-ticket public projects, proposals are brought to the concerned line agency with a completed Feasibility Study (FS).

Should FS findings show the projects’ economic viability, these proposals will be thoroughly evaluated by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) Technical Board prior to the NEDA ICC Cabinet Committee, then the NEDA Board for final approval.

A railway system has long been clamored by both the commuting public and the business sector, as this is seen as an effective solution to traffic woes.

There had been proposals to build a mass transport in Cebu but none had so far been realized.

The Metro Cebu Roadmap by the Japan International Cooperation Agency has cited developing a highway network and public transport as among the projects Cebu should prioritize.

The Metro Cebu Roadmap was initiated in 2013 by Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board, JICA, and Yokohama City in Japan to attain the Mega Cebu Vision 2050. (FREEMAN)

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