No more mega bridges to Bohol and Negros
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - November 20, 2019 - 12:00am

During yesterday’s 888 News Forum at Marco Polo Plaza, our guests were police colonels Roderick Pausal, head of the regional crime lab; Giovianni Maines, Cebu City Police Office OIC; and Renato Dugan, head of the Police Community Affairs and Development Division of Police Regional Office-7. They gave us a healthy discussion on the main issues happening in the region these days especially the war on drugs and the problems of the insurgency.

Regarding the insurgency, I asked the police officers if they have already taken advantage of social media network to restoring the image of the police. Many decades ago, the police had a PR problem as many supporters of the Communists were well-entrenched even in media organizations. If seems that under the Duterte presidency, the police have recovered their once-upon-a-time poor media image. Today, at least we know that policemen are there to protect the citizens, unlike in the past when people didn’t trust them. Of course it’s still not perfect, but at least they are doing positive things for the PNP.

* * *

It seems that the mega bridges projects from Cebu to Negros Oriental and Cebu to Bohol were included in the new “Build, build, build” list. Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Central Visayas director Edgar Tabacon told the media that the proposed Cebu-Bohol link bridge and the Cebu-Negros link bridge are not in the revised lineup purportedly due to engineering problems. What a simple excuse by a DPWH official to junk a project.

What’s wrong with the people running this country? We proposed the bridge between Cebu to Bohol because of the great economic benefit that both islands can gain. For Cebu we can get water from Inabanga, and a possible transfer of people living along the river banks to Getafe, Bohol, and for Bohol to get power from Cebu. This is not to mention that when there is a bridge connecting the two islands, commerce between the two islands would greatly benefit from this. But what do the government planners say? It is an engineering problem. First of all, no one ever said that this project would be done only by Filipinos. I would like to believe nations like Japan or Sweden would be interested in this project. Yes, I’m referring to both the Cebu-Bohol link and the Cebu to Negros Oriental link.

From the start of this project, we already knew what challenges we faced due to the deep water. This not only created problems for the proposed bridge from Santander to Sibulan in Negros Oriental. The same is true with the Cebu to Bohol Link, where 70% of the roadway passes through shallow waters. The deep water is between Olango Island and Mactan Island.

What I really hate is hearing people like Mr. Tabacon telling us why these bridges cannot be part of the program. In my book, they already surrendered this project because of its engineering problems. But if you gave it to the nations that build bridges in deep water, I would have more respect for DPWH. To be totally honest about it the engineering problem can be solved by additional funding!

But that is DPWH for you. Take for instance the recent report that the DPWH made to decongest Escario Street. This was a project that I proposed a long time ago. Yet in all these years, DPWH never commented on this proposal even if the RDC-7 already approved it. They had the National Economic Development Authority deny its funding perhaps because there was no traffic problems along Escario Street then. When the traffic along Escario Street started to worsen, DPWH had no alternative proposal.

At this point, I would like to once more inform our readers that in the case of Australia, it’s the traffic management that informs their infrastructure division where the demography of their people are passing through, simply because traffic management knows this for a fact. But here it is the DPWH who makes that decision, yet they have no idea where the people are passing through! The only good news for us is that the proposed P28-billion Metro Cebu Expressway Project, under the category of transport and mobility, is still on the new list. The Metro Cebu Expressway is a 74-kilometer expressway that will connect the Cebu North Road in Danao City to the Naga–Toledo Road in the City of Naga.

RODERICK PAUSAL
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