Why can’t DPWH solve our traffic problem?
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

What kind of curse do we have in Metro Cebu? We have a Department of Public Works and Highways that cannot even see that a flyover project at the UN Avenue would finally solve the two-hour traffic congestion that happens almost every day? Why can’t we have DPWH officials who can solve our traffic problems through infrastructure development? This is simple common sense that unfortunately our government officials do not possess! This means we can expect more monstrous traffic to happen because the DPWH Central Visayas told the media that they have shelved the plans to build a flyover at UN Avenue and Plaridel Road in Mandaue City.

Engineer Nonato Paylado, chief of the planning and design division of DPWH-7 told the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) meeting at the Capitol on Monday: “Our flyover will be overtaken by so many big-ticket projects. We believe that we may have to defer it.” It just makes me wonder what MCDCB officials said after they heard Paylado say this? Did they simply accept the fate of Metro Cebuanos that they would continue to suffer our monstrous traffic? If I were a member of the MCDCB, I would have scolded Paylado for saying that!

At this point, I don’t know whether or not the underpass proposal has also been shelved or delayed. This is the problem with the DPWH; they are not very specific in their announcements. They said further studies will be done. Come now. What more studies do they need? Doesn’t Engineer Paylado realize that the monstrous traffic along that route is costing millions of pesos every day? Now what does he mean by big ticket projects? We learned that the underpass project got the support of the Mandaue City Development Council and the Regional Development Council-7 in 2011.

We also learned that the DPWH was able to get P500 million in funding from the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and an additional P446 million in the 2017 GAA for the underpass component. B.M. Marketing based in Leyte got the P711.8-million contract on December 8, 2017 for the underpass construction, which is expected to be completed on June 4, 2020. So why delay or stop the flyover?

In other infrastructure news, the DPWH said that Segment 3 of the 73.75-kilometer Metro Cebu Expressway has already been contracted by MQ Construction and therefore cannot be undertaken by any big firm like Metro Pacific. Come now, was this project ever bid out? DPWH Regional Director Edgar Tabacon said MQ Construction has already started construction of the 17-kilometer road from Barangay Pangdan, Naga City, to the Minglanilla-Talisay boundary. DPWH has also started civil works at the junction area of the Naga-Uling Road in Barangay Pangdan in Naga City since July. Hmmm, maybe it is high time we see what the DPWH is doing on that road? That road project from Naga City to Danao City is expected to cut travel time to at least one hour from the usual three to four hours.

The Metro Cebu Expressway will traverse the upland barangays of at least five cities and four municipalities; the cities of Naga, Talisay, Cebu, Mandaue, Danao, and the towns of Minglanilla, Consolacion, Liloan, and Compostela. This is a project done and started by the Duterte administration. Mind you, this project requires a huge amount of funding, which is expected to cost between P20 billion to P30 billion. We learned that the DPWH-7 has been using the P300-million fund from its national budget in 2018 for road acquisition and the start of the 2.5-kilometer four-lane road construction. So we can expect this road to be finished in so many years from now, even after the end of the term of President Duterte.

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Meanwhile, when my good friend Sir Bobby Joseph attended the Rotary Club of Metro Cebu headed by Bobby Pacaña, he exhorted the Rotary Clubs of District 386 to join hands in this cleanup campaign. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales was also there to support the move of the private sector in spearheading the cleanup of the rivers and esteros of Metro Cebu. But as I wrote in this corner the other day, we must get rid of the illegal settlers living along the riverbanks who turn our rivers into a garbage dump. Only then can CENRO send their volunteers to clean up the river without being disappointed.


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