Cebu News

Cebu execs welcome mass transit project

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Local officials in Cebu welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement during his first State of the Nation Address to include the province in the implementation of the mass transit system.

Governor Hilario Davide III said the mass transit system is the solution to the traffic problem confronting Metro Cebu.

"It's a good news for us. Dugay naman gyod na nato ganahan mahitabo to address our problem sa traffic," Davide said.

The governor said the mass transit system will complement the proposed Bus Rapid Transit System in Cebu City. He hopes that Metro Cebu will be included in the proposed emergency power for the president to address the worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said he is supporting a railway project for Cebu.

Labella, the acting city mayor, said that railway transit in Cebu is “long overdue.”

Labella believes that mass transport system will address the problem on traffic congestion and the influx of informal settlers in the city.

“Before the war, we already had a mass transport system. From the city going north up to Danao (City) and from the city going south up to Argao (town),” he told reporters.

“It will mitigate if not eliminate the influx of informal settlers because they can already stay in the province and work in the city,” he added.

He said the area near the Cebu City Medical Center used to be the city’s train station. The station was destroyed during the war and was not rehabilitated.

Labella said the railway system would not operate in conflict with the BRT project but would rather complement.

Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino said he will see to it that the project will be realized within Duterte’s term.

Dino, however, said an emergency power is needed to make it happen. He said the mass transport system is badly needed for Cebu due to traffic congestion.

He believes that having an efficient mass transport system would spur business and economic development in the countryside.

"I am so elated nga napansin ang Cebu. For the longest time, infrastructure projects are concentrated in Metro Manila," Dino said.

He said road widening is not enough to address the traffic problem in Cebu.

Transport experts had been recommending for a light rail transit in Cebu before the traffic problem will get worse.

Architect Michael Yumi Espina, Mega Cebu co-chairman, said that now is the right time to connect all road centers from Danao to Carcar to decongest the urban area.

Transportation scientist Rene Santiago also said earlier that LRT is high time for Cebu to have it. The project had been pushed since 1993 by the Department of Transportation but did not materialize.

A pre-feasibility study for monorail system was also pushed in 1998 but nobody sponsored it.

In 2009, AMA made an unsolicited proposal for a 19-kilometer Cebu LRT project from Tabunok, Talisay City to Mandaue City. The proposal was approved by the DOTC but was rejected by Cebu City in favor of the BRT.

Cebu First District Representative Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas pushed for the inclusion of the Cebu LRT in the Private-Private Partnership portfolio in September 2013 but his proposal was ignored by the DOTC and the PPP Center. — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo and Kristine B. Quintas (FREEMAN)

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