Cebu News

BRT stakeholders study project’s social impact

Kristine B. Quintas /JMO - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Stakeholders of the Cebu-Bus Rapid Transit project are in Cebu City today to discuss its social impact on businesses and transport operators.

Lawyer Rafael Yap, head of the BRT office, said representatives from the Land Franchising and Regulatory Board, Department of Transportation and Communication and the BRT-technical working group are expected to come up with a “comprehensive plan to restructure and review” the social management aspect of the BRT.

 “We really have to carefully peruse the project’s social aspect as there would be displacement otherwise we will be in big trouble socially,” he said.

 The other members of the technical working group who will be present are Engineer Eugene Elizalde, City Administrator Dr. Lucelle Mercado, Mayor’s chief of staff Atty. Dominic Dino, Department of Engineering and Public Works, City Assessor’s Office, City Planning and Development Office, South Road Properties Management Office, DOTC, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board 7, Land Transportation Office 7, Department of Public Works and Highways 7 and Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7.

 The introduction of high quality buses operating on a dedicated bus lane will mean that some jeepney routes would be taken out by 2018.

 Yap said they are in constant communication with TESDA for the assistance program and other means of livelihood for the jeepney drivers and other individuals who may be displaced by the BRT project.

  In order to mitigate the possible negative impact, the project will introduce this first quarter a component on employment assistance and skills training (EAST) program for public utility jeepney operators, drivers, conductors and their family.

At least 2,614 jeepney drivers (1,307 jeepney units) and 912 operators (1,191 franchises and 22 routes) will be affected.

 Other measures identified include helping operators to move to other franchise routes including feeder routes to the BRT; offering existing transport operators the opportunity to be involved in service contracts for the BRT service; and assisting industry workers to find employment within the new bus system.

 Apart from the affected drivers, 108 business enterprises in Cebu City may be dislocated once construction of infrastructure for the BRT starts.

 The affected businesses are located along the proposed Cebu BRT route, which is a 23-kilometer median system consisting of one terminal, 19 median stations, and three interchanges. The route will pass four intersections: Osmeña Boulevard/Colon Street, V. Rama Avenue/M. Velez Street, M.J. Cuenco Avenue/J. Luna Avenue; and Gorordo Avenue/Salinas Drive. Pocket lanes will be built in different locations in the city.

As reported by Woodfields Consultant Incorporated, which DOTC commissioned to undertake the BRT study, displacement of the said businesses would result to an estimated income losses amounting to P36.1 million a year.

 The national government will be spending P1.27 billion to acquire and develop resettlement sites in Barangays Sinsin and Labangon, compensate land and structure owners affected by the project, and recompense potential income losses as a result of the BRT.

An estimated P620.5 million is needed to purchase approximately 9.3 hectares of land, 70 percent (6.63 hectares) of which is private, for the project.

 “A total of 243 structures are found to be standing on this land. Most of these structures are one-storey tall. These structures have an estimated floor area of two hectares. The cost of reconstructing these structures is estimated to cost PhP499.97 million. In addition to these, the Cebu BRT will impact fences and parking lots.” the report reads.

 Without disclosing details, Yap said DOTC will be awarding the detailed engineering design this month.

 The detailed engineering design will identify and quantify all essential works needed to implement the BRT and of the transport and procurement for construction services, including the infrastructure related design and station design.

It also includes a social management study that deals with the impact on jeepney drivers, conductors, operators and commuters.

The P10.6-billion project is expected to be operational by 2017. It is expected to carry 330,000 passengers when it opens. (FREEMAN)


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