Cebu News

Fronting the capitol: PB wants CBRT works stopped

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol, Le Phyllis F. Antojado-Orillaneda - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Members of the Provincial Board passed on mass motion yesterday, March 4, 2024, the recommendation to stop the civil works of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) along Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City.

At least two board members filed a resolution supporting the earlier order of Gov. Gwen Garcia to halt the BRT civil works fronting the Capitol.

Board Member John Ismael Borgonia of the third district, in his resolution, said the CBRT, particularly its bus terminals, affect the view of the Cebu Capitol building which is a historical landmark.

Borgonia pointed out that the contractor failed to consult the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for the said project.

"The design and height of the CBRT Bus Stations are inappropriate to the historicity of the grand boulevard and the two heritage structures. When completed, they will also stand as sore thumbs disrespectfully blocking the view or vista of the significant heritage zone created in 1930's,” Borgonia said in his resolution.

"No other structure must ruin the visual space, sight, and appearance of the Cebu Capitol Building, Osmeña boulevard, as well as the Fuente Osmeña Circle as these three are accorded recognition and protection," he added.

Further, Board Member Glenn Anthony Soco also submitted a resolution, which stressed how Cebuanos, from Cebu City and the province, are experiencing the inconvenience of the ongoing BRT works.

"What we can see on our own eyes, we are not adding more roads, we are simply subtracting road spaces given the nature of the transport system where there is a dedicated lane for buses,” Soco said.

"Let this be an echo of our own sentiments as elected officials to the land of the Province of Cebu that we share the inconveniences, we share the cause of the inconvenience yet we are lost, we don't know what's happening we don't know if the plan is really feasible,” he lamented.

ABC President and ex-officio board member Celestino "Tining" Martinez has also invited the officials from the Department of Transportation to answer the current CBRT issues.


Meanwhile, after disclosing his interest to have the current manager of the CBRT project replaced, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama has endorsed current Road Management Authority's assistant head Kent Francesco Jongoy as replacement.

Rama earlier attributed the delay in the progress of the CBRT project and string of mishaps to Engr. Norvin Imbong’s mismanagement and lack of coordination with the city.

The mayor was also reportedly displeased with Imbong’s decision for the contractor to proceed with work segments without considering their impact to traffic while also blaming him for the exclusion of Barangay Bulacao from CBRT’s southern route.

“Ngano’ng inyo man ni’ng gi-usab? Bulacao man ni (apil unta sa rota),” he had said, adding “tan-awa gi-unsa ni ninyo, dayun mo-ingun mo nga wala mo’y kalibutan?...I wish nga wala siya nag-lilimbong. Taga-an lang ka’g smile-smile. I’m sorry, I want him out,” Rama said earlier via the Sugboanon channel.

Imbong had also explained earlier that he is just following instructions from DOTR’s head office and has not made any decisions on his own.

Jongoy told The Freeman that he was already informed of the mayor’s plan to endorse him last week.

Before that, however, Jongoy said, Rama assigned him to look into the current issue hounding the CBRT project.

Jongoy said he is currently gathering information and documents on this matter.

But Jongoy also said he is willing to take on the responsibility of leading the CBRT project should DOTR Sec. Jaime Bautista accept the mayor’s endorsement.

“Considering the traffic impact of the project and in line with my current designation in RMA (CCTO), I am up to the challenge,” Jongoy said.

Jongoy said he is fully aware that it is such a big responsibility, but also looks forward to carrying out such a task.

“It may be a great responsibility but I hope to be able to deliver the tasks at hand, that includes the project’s completion,” Jongoy added.

Prior to his role as assistant to RMA department head Raquel Arce, he served as executive assistant to Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, chairman of the committee of transportation in the City Council.

The city’s People’s Progressive Radio Media Network also reported that Jongoy sought the support from the city’s stakeholders, stressing the necessity of collective endeavor to propel the CBRT project to its long-awaited fruition. — (FREEMAN)

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