Cebu News

Expressway: 50 brgys oppose route change

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — At least 50 barangays from nine Cebu towns and cities will be affected by the Metro Cebu Expressway’s (MCE) new route alignment.

The barangays have accordingly expressed their opposition to the changes during a meeting on the MCE at the Capitol last Thursday, with Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, local government units (LGU), and representatives of concerned government agencies in attendance.

The MCE is a 56.9-kilometer expressway that would serve as a north-to-south backbone highway, enabling a continuous traffic flow from the City of Naga in the south to Danao City in the north, supposedly by traversing the slopes of Cebu’s scenic mountain range.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), however, is now looking at changing the MCE route, which now involves having it pass through densely populated areas of the said barangays.

Sugbo News, the Cebu Provincial Government’s official news network reported that the most affected is Cebu City with 11 barangays, which were not named.

On the other hand, Naga, Minglanilla, Consolacion, and Danao have five affected barangays each; Talisay City and Mandaue City have three each; and Liloan town has four.

Aside from homes, industries, and schools being affected, among others, barangay officials also expressed their fears about the dangers the project poses, including collapsed and cracked roads, landslides, blocked waterways, and flooding.

Also taken by surprise on the change, Garcia asked DPWH during the meeting why the revision of the route.

“Nganong inyo mang giusab? Why are you choosing the thickly populated areas? That’s going to be very bloody, very expensive of course. It will increase the budget,” she said.

She made it clear, though, that they are not opposed to the expressway project itself, only on the deviation from the original plan.

“Let me just make it very clear. Wala may ni-oppose nga maghimo ta og alternative, nga himoa pa nang super-super expressway. Pero wala gyod ko kasabot nganong dili man mo moagi didtos bukid?” she said.

In response, DPWH-7 Director Ernesto Gregorio, Jr. said the sudden change of the route came from their central office and that they are just implementing it.

Last Feb. 8, the governor had also ordered DPWH-7 to temporarily stop its construction of the expressway until a comprehensive assessment of the project’s environmental and safety compliance is completed.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 Regional Executive Director Paquito Melicor and Environmental Management Bureau-7 Director Ma. Victoria Abrera were also around during the meeting, where violations of the project were initially noted.

The violations, however, need to be physically verified through an ocular inspection. — /RHM (FREEMAN)

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