BRT system crawls to fruition

THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) downloaded the first tranche of funds for the P10-billion Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project to the Cebu City Government.

The money is intended for the road right-of-way (RROW) acquisitions.

It has taken almost nine years for the project to finally move.

It was in 2008 when the project was first discussed. The feasibility study followed in 2012, followed by the detailed engineering design, which started in 2015.

Rafael Christopher Yap, BRT project manager, said the DOTr downloaded P460,260,500 to the City last Friday.

According to the memorandum of agreement, City Administrator Nigel Paul Villarete said a total of P900 million will serve as the first tranche of funds intended for RROW acquisitions.

Yap said the inventory of the structures along the route from Barangay Talamban in the north to Barangay Bulacao in the south that will be affected of the project is ongoing.

Yap said that some structure owners refuse to cooperate with the City, which is why the inventory is not yet finished.

Getting rid of trees

Aside from commercial and residential structures, the implementation of the BRT project will also affect trees.

Based on a latest survey, a total of 2,166 trees will have to go.

The City has scheduled a public hearing on May 17 to discuss how to deal with the problem.

Villarete, for his part, said they're hoping that by the last quarter of the year, they can start paying structure owners and clearing the route.

He said that they're studying provisions of Republic Act 10752, or the new law that facilitates the acquisition of RROW or location for national government infrastructure projects, so they can be guided when payment of the affected properties is made.

"We are not looking at any delays in so far the law governing the lot acquisition is concerned. In fact, the new law is faster in terms of project implementation. We're still hoping that we can start by the end of the year but if not, we can start early next year," he said.
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