Mayor: P100M infra projects will be implemented

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


CEBU City will get more than P100 million in infrastructure projects in preparation for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit next year.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama made the announcement after being informed by Apec 2015 National Organizing Committee director general Marciano Paynor Jr. that another inspection will be held this week.

Meanwhile, Rama proposed to widen Archbishop Reyes Ave. and decongest roads in Barangay Mabolo in preparation for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in 2016. The mayor mentioned the proposal in a meeting with Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and other church officials last Monday night.

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He assured church officials that the City Government will be active in the preparations for the IEC.

The Apec inspection team will be led by Ambassador Ma. Angelina Sta. Catalina, deputy general for the conference management and services.

Visit

Cebu lost the bid to host the Apec heads of state summit, but it has been shortlisted as possible venue for some smaller meetings.

“We are aware that an ocular visit was also held last year by a bigger contingent,” read Paynor’s letter to Rama. “The team aims to tackle the brass tacks and delve into more particular issues like hosting, aiming to synchronize the national objectives with that of the local units.”

Meanwhile, Rama said Undersecretary Lourdes Ong of the Internal House Affairs Office approved his request to use the Malacañang sa Sugbo as command center for Central Visayas.

Rama wrote to Ong to formalize his request to use the building and promised to preserve it as a heritage structure.

During an interaction yesterday with editors and officials of newspapers and radio and TV stations, Rama tackled issues like traffic management, drainage and the South Road Properties (SRP).

Traffic

Michelle So, Sun.Star Cebu executive editor and Superbalita editor-in-chief, asked the mayor about traffic and the construction of more buildings.

He said he wants to have master plans for traffic and drainage.

When asked about the SRP, Rama admitted that the City Government has yet to recoup its investment on the project.

“We have not been meeting the goal of employing 80,000 people and we have not recouped what we spent on the property, which ought to be converted to public service,” he said.

He said the earnings from SM Prime Holdings and Filinvest Land Inc. have not offset the P5 billion that City Hall made in loan payments for the reclamation project.

Aside from improving road and traffic conditions during the IEC, Rama promised that the City will allow organizers to use the site of the thanksgiving mass for the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod at the SRP.

The IEC is expected to draw at least 15,000 delegates to activities at the Pope John XXIII Seminary in Barangay Mabolo.

Rama said traffic situation in the area has to be improved. “There may not only be 15,000 people there, it could be as many as 50,000… There will only be one entrance and one exit, so we have to decongest the area,” he added.

He said the private sector should be involved. Business owners along Archbishop Reyes Ave. might be asked to give up portions of their properties if the road will be widened.

Private sector

Rama said it may not be necessary to wait for the Department of Public Works and Highways to prioritize the widening of the roads in the area, since the City and the private sector can work together.

During his meeting with Palma, Rama assured archdiocese officials that the City will also provide support in terms of maintaining peace and order, and traffic management during the congress.

He also assured them that the City will help organizers meet their deadlines, specifically in terms of permits and other documentary requirements they might need.

“When you talk about a Eucharistic Congress, culture and arts and even tourism will also be involved… so the City Government should not just be on the sideline. It should participate in the preparations,” Rama told a news conference yesterday.

The congress will draw participants from all over the world, and may have Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican officials as guests.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 05, 2014.

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