Cebu News

Move to halt BRT project: Scrap Joy, Cuenco, Rama - Tom

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman
Move to halt BRT project: Scrap Joy, Cuenco, Rama - Tom
Engineers from Hunan Road Construction, contractor of the BRT project, inspect the ongoing construction along Osmeña Boulevard. Some city councilors suggested scrapping the project citing poor planning.
File photo

CEBU, Philippines — Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has clapped back at two city councilors who recently called to stop ongoing works of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT).

Osmeña, who pushed for the BRT project during his term as mayor, stressed that the project favors the poor “car-less” people, and said that the councilors calling for the project’s halt should be the one “scrapped” instead.

Councilor James Anthony Cuenco recently delivered a privilege speech to raise his concerns on the ongoing civil works of the CBRT and its effects to the public, which was seconded by Councilor Jocelyn "Joy" Pesquera.

But Osmeña said the councilors are being “elitist” in their stance.

“We should scrap Pesquera, Cuenco, including Rama and all their councilors. Save Cebu. Elitist Cuenco wants to treat private cars like first class citizens and public transportation as second class citizens (status quo),” said Osmeña.

Cuenco, in his speech, highlighted the "red flags" of the CBRT project, and encourages the members of the Cebu City Council to redirect the resources to more "viable traffic solutions."

During the discussion, Pesquera also agreed with Cuenco's points, adding that from the very beginning she was already against the BRT.

According to Pesquera, the said the BRT system in Curitiba, Brazil, which the former mayor drew inspiration from for the Cebu BRT, succeeded for a specific period but later failed to address transportation concerns.

“I fully support the move of member Cuenco, that we really need, although he did not say in a categorical sense, to stop the BRT project. I would really push for the council to take a stand and stop the BRT project,” Pesquera said.

But Osmeña emphasized that while the BRT may not be perfect, it favors the people without private cars coming from Barangay Pardo in the south and Barangay Talamban in the north.

According to Osmeña, the BRT prioritizes the majority, which is the public commuters.

He added that under the administrations of the late Edgardo Labella and Mayor Mike Rama, the Pardo and Talamban routes for the BRT were cancelled.

Further, Osmeña mentioned that the BRT will instead benefit two major malls in the city and its customers.

“There's a lot more I can add but helping Cebu is no longer my responsibility.  Let’s just get high on Rama's dream of Singapore and Cuenco's fantasy of a subway,” he added.

In his recent statement following Cuenco and Pesquera’s BRT opposition, Mayor Rama said that the scrapping of the BRT project will be the "most stupid" thing to do.

“Kami ni Tomas (Osmeña), we are for it. Unya dili lang ko musulti nganong dili sila for it at the beginning, they should have been honest enough because if they were honest enough, they were mentally dishonest,” said Rama.

According to Rama, there were “reasons” that the BRT system was chosen among other mass transportation options.

He, however, said that if the legislative body wants to make a move to stop the BRT, they should raise it to the DOTr, World Bank, and other concerned agencies. — (FREEMAN)

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