MCDP - 1

STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete - The Freeman

If we want to continue discussing the current state of Metro Cebu, or where it is heading, it is best to recall and learn from the past and how it came to be as it is now. As I have said last week, the South Road Properties (SRP), erstwhile originally the South Reclamation Project, and the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) would be Exhibit A on how the Metro Cebu Development Project, or MCDP propelled Cebu City, and Metro Cebu, to greater heights, to what it has become today.

The man behind MCDP would be former mayor Tommy Osmeña, of course. Immediately after he was first elected, he embarked on the project development process in getting “Official Development Assistance” (or ODA) within the NEDA process, something that as far as I can remember, no other mayor has done before (and no one has done as successfully or better after). ODA is simply “foreign funding,” the likes of aid coming from the World Bank or USAID, or in the case of Japan --its Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF), now simply called JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) funding.

The product? MCDP which is later tagged as MCDP-1 because Osmeña managed to secure two more tranches. MCDP-1 has a number of components --new road links, a traffic management system, and a bus terminal. The upgraded roads were V. Rama Avenue, B. Rodriguez Street, a new road opening at F. Cabahug Street, Imus-MJ Cuenco new road link (former railway link), and the Mactan-Marigondon Road. Only older people can remember how narrow, dilapidated, and inefficient these roads were before the 1990’s. Today, we can drive straight from that Cebu South Road to the Cebu North Road using that wide 4-lane highway but prior to MCDP-1, that stretch between them around the University of San Carlos was a simple two-lane affair called (Imus Road). The same was for Mactan-Marigondon Road, now called Patalinghug Ave.

The traffic management component was the upgrading of a number of major intersections around the city, where the SCATS, or the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System, were installed. Remember that automatic system that we had, where there were sensors in the road before the intersection which automatically detect the volume of traffic and give you the best timing of traffic lights? We were the first outside of Australia to have that, even earlier than Hong Kong. It’s a pity they replaced it with a supposedly new system (costing half a billion pesos at that!) which is nowhere near the efficiency of the old SCATS system, as any driver can see today.

And the third component is the South Bus Terminal, of course, now operated by the Province of Cebu. Before the CSBT, all the buses going to the south park anywhere there in the Cebu South Road without any system, exemplifying inefficiency at its height.

Most of these people below a certain age wouldn’t remember, of course. But for those who do, it’s good to recall where we came from and what giant leaps MCDP had given to us today. All of these were only for MCDP-1. There’ still MCDP-2 and MCDP-3 as well. (To be continued)

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