DPWH warning fails to frazzle Rama

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Friday, December 13, 2013


“LET them sue,” said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7’s warning that the City’s Pay Parking Ordinance is illegal.

The DPWH 7 cited Presidential Decree 17, or the Revised Philippine Highway Act.

“The attorney is talking and the other is an engineer. Who do you believe? I would believe the lawyer,” said Rama, referring to Atty. Rafael Yap and Engr. Ador Canlas.

Yap is the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management executive director while Canlas is the regional director of DPWH.

“Let them go to court, I don’t want to challenge them,” Rama said.

Yap said the decree has been superseded by the Local Government Code, which authorizes the local legislative body to enact traffic ordinances.

Plea for cooperation

But instead of debating over the use of the national road, Rama instead urged the national agency to cooperate with his plan for a joint memorandum circular on the widening of city roads.

Rama said the National Government has a big budget for road widening but the City can’t avail itself of it since the subject of the widening has to be a national road.

“But then they could not declare a road unless it is 10 meters wide,” Rama said in his regular press conference yesterday.

In the case of the Tagunol Road, Rama said it is less than 10 meters wide but then vehicles from southern local government units use it. The road is not exclusive to Cebu City vehicles, he said.

Aside from the DPWH 7, the City Government also wants the Commission on Audit 7 and the Department of Budget and Management to be part of the joint circular.

Rama said that years ago city roads were used solely as interior roads for routes plying Cebu City.

However, because of the increase in traffic, some Cebu City roads now cater to vehicles going to the north and south of Cebu.

Assessment

“We don’t have to wait for a declaration that it is a national road because these are used nationally. There is too much load,” he said.

Aside from Tagunol, Rama is also eyeing Tres de Abril and Marteres streets as those that need to be widened using funds from the National Government.

Before Rama formalizes the joint memorandum circular, he intends to meet with Department of Engineering and Public Works and City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete to assess which of the city roads need to be widened.

This is particularly important because there is no go-signal yet to sell the South Road Properties, which will give the City billions in revenues that may be used for social services.

The mayor earlier ranted against DPWH for various asphalting projects in national roads that did not actually need to have another layer of asphalt.

And these were done without coordinating with the City Government.

Rama believes the money should have been used to widen the roads.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 14, 2013.

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