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Cebu News

PB rings alarm bells amid expressway project delay

Le Phyllis F. Antojado - The Freeman
PB rings alarm bells amid expressway project delay
The proposed expressway is an ambitious road project that will traverse from the City of Naga in the south to Danao City in the north, passing through the slopes of the mountains of Cebu province’s middle section.

CEBU, Philippines —  Members of the Cebu Provincial Board have asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to look into the delay in the construction of the 73-kilometer Metro Cebu Expressway.

The proposed expressway is an ambitious road project that will traverse from the City of Naga in the south to Danao City in the north, passing through the slopes of the mountains of Cebu province’s middle section.

The project is divided into three segments, with the final segment originally envisioned to be completed by 2022.

The problem, however, is that construction of the segments have not gone full swing yet.

During a PB session last June 21, DPWH-7 officials told the board that Segments 1 and 2 of the project had not been started. Some of the reasons cited were problems pertaining to land acquisition and road right of way issues with the private landowners.

Another reason raised by the agency was that it was restrained due to budgetary requirements.

“To date, the monumental project is far from its completion. In fact, as planned, Segment 3 should have been completed on or before 2022. However, a significant portion of which has not even been started yet,” PB Member Glen Anothony Soco said in a resolution urging the DPWH to find ways to fast-track the project’s completion.

Soco said that only 4.2 kilometers of the total length of 11.898 kilometers for Segment 3 have been completed.

In this pace, the completion of Segment 3 alone would not be feasible even after several years, Soco said.

“This body urges the Department of Public Works and Highways, thru Secretary Mark Villar, to revisit and review the modalities in which the same is being implemented. The current budgetary constraints, system of procurement of resources, and the procedures in its implementation, do not assist, nor aid, in the furtherance and advancement of the project,” he said.

“In fact, the system and modality in which the project is following through, delay its implementation and completion,” he added.

With a project cost of P28.1 billion, the Metro Cebu Expressway is one of the projects slated under the Build Build Build program of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

It aims to improve the east-west, south-north urban inter-modal transport in Metro Cebu, as well as link the central, coastal including the northern and southern urban districts and contribute to the economic growth of the island.

Segment 1 will be 25.8 km and will station in Minglanilla/Talisay boundary-Cebu City – Mandaue/Consolacion boundary. Segment 2 is 29.79 km along Mandaue-Consolacion boundary to Danao City while Segment 3 will station in Naga City-Minglanilla/Talisay boundary with a 17.15 km length.

DPWH-7 sent a memorandum to Undersecretary for Information Management Planning and PPP Services Maria Catalina Cabral earlier in an effort to expedite the implementation of the project. The memo even suggested to adopt a public-private partnership scheme in order to fast-track the completion of the three segments.

The PB backed this move of the DPWH-7.

Soco said instead of implementing it as government-fund project, the expressway can be accomplished through PPP since it “has established applied and pragmatic evidence of positive contributions, both micro and macroeconomic, especially if said projects are social and pro-poor infrastructure, or aimed to improvement access to infrastructure.”  — JMD (FREEMAN)

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