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Opinion

MCDP - 2

STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete - The Freeman

Last week’s article was about the Metro Cebu Development Project (MCDP), Phase 1. The project brought so much progress to Metro Cebu that then Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña worked for a Phase 2, still covering a lot of infrastructure in the Metropolitan Cebu area. To his credit, Osmeña didn’t limit his advocacy to Cebu City only but included the entire Metropolitan Cebu. This time, while maintaining a focus on road links, MCDP-2 included public infrastructure for the other cities as well.

Besides additional road links, this second program highlighted public infrastructure in the other cities. MCDP-1 already included the Cebu South Bus Terminal, so MCDP-2 built the North Bus Terminal in Mandaue City and added the public markets of Talisay and Mandaue to boot. A small portion of the loan also included some improvement of the waste management system facility in Inayawan. The road links included the following: ML Quezon Street, S. Osmeña Avenue to Mandaue Reclamation Road, Salvador Street-Banawa Road (now known as R. Duterte Street), B. Rodriguez Extension (now known as Pablo Abella Street), Katipunan Street, and F. Llamas Street.

A lot of these roads we take for granted nowadays since they have been there with their existing conditions, even degraded over time, since MCDP-2 was implemented. To most of us, especially below a certain age, we see them as they are. But to those who were using these roads prior to MCDP-2, we will always remember the immense widening and upgrading that were done in this project, considering the less-than-notable conditions they were in before. When these roads were opened with their widening and upgrading for the first time, we were amazed at the wonders of the new infrastructure. But the most notable and glaring fact at that time, now forgotten by most, is the way Metro Cebu received such a deluge of development many times over what other cities and towns in the Philippines ever had. I am quite certain no other LGU received as much even ‘til now.

The key to all these arrays of projects is ODA, or Official Development Assistance. We often call them as foreign aid --loans and grants coming from other countries or from international financing institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Among bilateral sources (aid coming from other countries), JICA (the Japan International Cooperation Agency, but which at that time was called the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund) ranks first and Mayor Osmeña made the direct pitch to them. The result? The array of projects under MCDP-1, 2, and 3. ODA was, and still is, a national concern; seldom does an LGU access them directly. But Osmeña did and succeeded to the advantage of not only Cebu City but the rest of Metro Cebu as well.

Not only for the three MCDPs (1, 2, and 3), but Osmeña later got World Bank funding for the Bus Rapid Transit as well, but that's another story. The MCDP projects may today already look “old”, but let’s not forget they were not there before. Nothing has radically changed the face of Cebu City and Metro Cebu as we know them now as MCDP did.

To be continued

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