SRP BRT works greenlighted

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Monday, August 25, 2014


MORE than a year after it was stalled, Cebu City’s Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) is now reimplementing the P50-million Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) road project at the South Road Properties (SRP).

The work for the project resumes despite the pending criminal case the City Council has filed against Mayor Michael Rama and 11 other City Hall officials before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Last Aug. 8, DEPW Chief Jose Marie Poblete lifted the suspension order that then DEPW Chief Engr. Kenneth Enriquez issued in March 2013 to Supreme ABF Construction, the contractor of the project.

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“You are hereby directed to resume construction operations of the BRT route clearing and embankment project effective Aug. 11,” said Poblete in his one-page resumption order issued to Bernabe Gilbor, president of Supreme ABF Construction.

The project had been suspended due to the case filed by the Council, who questioned the awarding of the project because the mayor signed the contract without their authorization.

This, they said, violated the provisions of Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Ready

In an interview, Poblete told Sun.Star Cebu that the contractor for the project deployed its equipment at the SRP since last week and is resuming the works for the SRP route clearing and embankment.

The project will run for 2.2 kms. and is expected to be completed within 222 calendar days or at least seven months.

Poblete said their move to resume works for the project despite the pending case is due to the legal opinion earlier issued by the City Legal Office.

Lawyer Mary Rose Salvatierra invoked Republic Act 8975 or An Act to Ensure the Expeditious Implementation and Completion of Government Projects.

Section 3 provides that courts, except the Supreme Court, are prohibited from issuing temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions against government infrastructure projects. It covers the commencement, execution, implementation and operation of any contract or project.

Salvatierra said the law was reiterated by the High Court through its Administrative Circular 11-2000.

Poblete said the resumption of the project is a response to the request of SM Prime Holdings Inc., one of the investors at the SRP.

SM wanted the project to be finished since it will also serve as an industrial road that will support their development in the area. SM, who owns a 30-hectare property at the SRP, will be opening their mall in September next year.

Support

In June this year, the council had also supported the resumption of the project due to SM’s request, “without prejudice to the pending case.”

The P50-million BRT route clearing and embankment at the SRP is funded under the 2013 P100-million lump sum appropriation of the City for the development of the 300-ha. property.

The clearing and embankment is in preparation for the implementation of the P10.6 billion BRT project in the whole city.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 25, 2014.

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