Expressway to spur development

WITH public infrastructure leading the way for future developments, the planned P50-billion Metro Cebu Expressway that will connect the cities of Naga in the south and Danao up north is expected to augment trade and commerce in Cebu.

Improved farm-to-market roads, better access to tourist destinations, job opportunities, and housing opportunities for both developers and homebuyers are what this new expressway will bring to the less developed areas in the province, said Cebu’s business leaders.

At the 888 News Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza yesterday, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Melanie Ng said the 74-kilometer road project will present business and investment opportunities in the province.

“This will greatly improve farm-to-market roads and as such it will help economic development in the province and improve the attractiveness of Cebu,” said Ng.

Now that traffic is an everyday problem for Cebuanos and visitors alike, Ng said the project is one traffic solution that the business community has been eagerly waiting for. Infrastructure, she said, is needed to support economic development in Cebu.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar said the Metro Cebu Expressway is the biggest project so far in the history of Cebu, and this will be finished before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends in 2022. Once it’s completed, the official said, travel time from Naga to Danao will only take one hour.

Likewise, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 Director Efren Carreon recently noted the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build program.

“The Duterte administration’s policy to prioritize major infrastructure projects is expected to spur public sector investments in the region (Central Visayas),” said Carreon. Among the big-ticket projects in the pipeline include the New Cebu International Container Port and the Cebu-Cordova Expressway.

Anthony Leuterio, president of the Allied Chamber of Real Estate Brokers and Licensed Salesmen (PhilAcre) and founder of property listing site Filipino Homes, said the realization of the Metro Cebu Expressway will translate to developments outside the key cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay.

For instance, he said, Naga, Danao, and adjacent towns can expect a surge in property prices in a few years, as well as housing projects in the area. With more residential and commercial presence in these areas, the Duterte administration’s thrust of rural development is already at play.

“Infrastructure is a multiplier. Once the government builds roads and similar infrastructure projects, everything will follow,” said Leuterio.

Incoming projects

Cebu Landmasters Inc. has pledged to build 3,200 houses in Naga through its Casa Mira South subdivision project. Of the number, 400 of these houses are to be completed by December this year.

But even prior to the Metro Cebu Expressway, developments in southern Metro Cebu are underway. The biggest so far is the 100-hectare reclamation project in the town of Minglanilla, the municipality before the City of Naga. The project is a public-private partnership between the municipality, Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), and Ming-Mori Development Corp. (MMDC), and is awaiting the Enviromental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
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