Cebu News

Suspension of CBRT civil works Council suggestion contradicts study

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Council resolution to suspend the civil works of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) packages 2, 3, and 4 is a “contradiction” to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) feasibility study.

This is the sentiment of City Councilor Nestor Archival, council minority floor leader, when sought by The Freeman yesterday to elaborate on his position on the April 17 resolution.

He said the CBRT is not the total solution of the traffic situation in Cebu City; opening of more diversion roads that would connect to the neighboring towns and cities is.

He said the main objective of the CBRT is to bring the people who do not own vehicles from Bulacao in the south to the city’s center and to Talamban in the north and vice versa.

Archival said the current civil works of the CBRT Package 1 is part of the original route established for the project.

“Mao na nga bisan og naay mga problema, of course naa man gyuy mga problema ang himuon nga mga project. Naa man gani mga problema ang mga gagmay, how much more ang kanang dagko,” he said.

Among those problems encountered is the construction of the bus station in front of the Capitol Building where calls has been aired to halt construction following its potential to block the view of what is considered a heritage site.

Last April 17, 2024, Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation, delivered a privilege speech following the executive session where transportation experts were invited to bring out the perspectives whether the CBRT is still viable.

With the experts’ inputs being considered, Cuenco proposed resolution that the Council approved for the NEDA board and DOTr to temporarily suspend the civil works of the packages 2, 3, and 4 effective upon the completion of Package 1 of the CBRT.

Cuenco likewise urged the Office of the Mayor to convene a CBRT Technical Working Group to discuss the option of a City-operated trial run of a CBRT route from Bulacao to Ayala Center Cebu while Packages 2, 3, and 4 of the CBRT are suspended.

Archival, though, was among the four city councilors who objected to the approved resolutions.

“Og ipahunong ang trabaho, that’s really a statement nga sayop ni tanan ninyong gitrabaho. Mao na akong feeling na, ‘nya mo-contradict na sa study nga gihimo sa World Bank nga okay ra ni sya,” he said.

Archival said that suspending the CBRT based on the suggestion of an expert who could not even reveal has not been studied yet.

“Ngano man sad nga atong ihunong ang phase 2 nga in fact wa man na nakabwelo ang trabaho sa phase 1. Mao lang gyud na, making a statement nga ipahunong for six months, I think it’s not a good statement para sa City Government nga maoy signatory sa request nga mangayo;g tabang sa national government ug sa World Bank,” he said.

Previously among those that Archival has argued is the reported realignment of the CBRT route. Currently, he would have wanted the DOTr and CBRT project implementor to give them a copy of the final route.

On the other hand, Engineer Norvin Imbong, CBRT project manager, said that CBRT routes were not revised and are still according to what was established in 2014.

He said that there remains the dedicated lanes from the Mambaling flyover going to Ayala Center Cebu and the mixed traffic lanes in Vestil Road going to the South Costal Road, which are all NEDA-approved.

In 2020, a revision was made, which includes an extension going to the Cebu IT Park, while the mixed traffic lanes would instead be the dedicated lane. He, however, said despite the supposed change of scope, this was never approved by NEDA.

In 2023, the original alignment or scope has been retained, with a feeder road extended in both ends in Talamban and in Talisay City. Ymbong said that in 2023, there has been a change of scope and change in cost due to the rising market value hence, the budget getting bigger.— (FREEMAN)

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