Cebu’s traffic a nightmare – APEC minister

(The Freeman) - October 10, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - While impressed with the historical and cultural aspects of Cebu, the transportation ministers of New Zealand and Chinese Taipei want Metro Cebu to improve its transportation system.

At least 180 delegates and transportation ministers of the 21-member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation region had the chance to experience the transport system in Cebu during its technical tour yesterday.

Chi-Kuo Lin, Ministry of Transportation and Communications of Chinese Taipei, said the traffic situation in Cebu is a “nightmare.”

“I think the traffic is a nightmare to the Cebu. But, I know, as I know that the Philippine government had already been planning like the jeepney reform and also some other infrastructure projects. I believe that the future of the transportation in Cebu should be better than today,” he said.

Lin suggested that there should be a better bus system and resilient infrastructure for a sustainable transport system in Cebu, just like in Taipei and in Kaoshiung.

“We have a very convenient and a very quality metro system and bus. And even though we have the convenient transport system, we also have a bike which is for the public,” he said.

At least three units of state-of-the-art “My Bus” were utilized to transport the transportation ministers yesterday. There were seven coasters and motorized police personnel who joined the convoy.

For the “My Bus”, Lin said he appreciate its feature since it has ramps for persons with disabilities.

However, he said it was “a little bit noisy.”

“The vehicle is a little bit noisy, not in the engine but maybe it’s in the body. I do not know what’s going on,” he said, adding that it was a convenient ride though.

“My Bus” was recently unveiled, in time for the 9th Transportation Ministerial Meeting of APEC.

Another delegate, Kenneth Hopper, the Adviser Aviation at Ministry of Transport of New Zealand, said he would have wanted to experience the typical traffic situation in Cebu, although he was still thankful for yesterday’s “very easy” travel.

“We have been very fortunate because we had a police escort which is very helpful in speeding us through,” he said.

Department of Tourism-7 director Rowena Montecillo said APEC is being done in different regions in the country so that various destinations will be presented.

“We want to please all the tourists and delegates because we want them to be happy so that they will have a very good experience and they could promote Cebu as a destination to their families and friends,” she said.

The delegates assembled at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City and departed at 9 a.m. for the tour.

They visited the Magellan’s Cross where they were welcomed by the re-enactment of the planting of the cross and the baptism of Queen Juana.

From there, they visited the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and experienced riding a kalesa from the church to Fort San Pedro.

The delegates also visited Colon Street, Osmeña Boulevard, Fuente Osmeña Circle, Salinas Drive, Cebu I.T. Park, SM Seaside City and San Pedro Calungsod Shrine at the South Road Properties, and the Liberty Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City, among others.

Lin and Hopper were impressed with the overall technical tour yesterday.

“I’m extremely impressed by the authenticity of the participants in the form of costumes, brightness, the colors, the wonderful children playing violins. The whole tour was extremely good,” Hopper said.

Both Lin and Hopper loved the historical and cultural features of Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.

Alice Queblatin of Cebu APEC Tourism Consortium said the committee is happy seeing the delegates having fun.

“The impact of this, for one thing, it’s about reinstating the dominance of Cebu in Philippine history. The fact that they had economic meetings here, plus they are able to enjoy the cultural enhancement and tours makes them realized that Cebu is not just for business, it’s about family to come and enjoy. Mostly they will come back bringing family. And I think that’s the best compliment that we get,” he said.

HPG on traffic

Meanwhile, the head of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group said they are willing to man the traffic in Cebu just like what they are doing along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Metro Manila.

PNP-HPG director Chief Superintendent Arnold Gunnacao, who visited Cebu last week, said this would mean recruiting more personnel though, since they really lack personnel to do the task.

“Personally ha, honestly, kulang kami sa tao. So nag re-recruit pa kami, para in case mabigyan kami ng trabaho dito sa Cebu, at least meron na tayong pwersa na nakahanda,” he said, adding they would need around 300 personnel to be deployed in all HPG units in the country.

Should there be an order for HPG to help man the traffic in Cebu City, Gunnacao said, they would be willing to do it.

According to Gunnacao, he has been to Cebu for many times and he noticed that the place is now having problems regarding its traffic situation.

“Nakikita mo talaga dahil maraming mga malls, maraming mga establishments na mga bago at hindi naman lumalapad iyong daan,” he said.

He said he already tasked his men in the HPG-7 to gather recruits so that if there will be an order, they are ready for it.

“Ang pagmamando kasi ng trapiko, kailangan ng maraming tao, kailangan ng maraming shifts,” he said further. —/NSA (FREEMAN)

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