Mongaya: Can’t stop BRT

PRESIDENTIAL Assistant for the Visayas (PAV) Mike Dino and his team need to go back to the drawing boards in their bid to stop the Bus Rapid Transit or BRT.

I thought their campaign to halt the BRT had gained momentum this week. Neda’s Ernesto Pernia did an embarrassing somersault. Just hours after he announced that the BRT is a go, Dino got to him and the Neda boss changed his mind. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) followed suit.

It is worth noting that the arguments so far put forward against the BRT could be easily demolished.

The main argument is: Cebu has narrow roads so the BRT will only further congest traffic.

But the BRT project includes road widening. I understand the “road right of way” or RROW is a major project cost component. By the time it will be finished, the main BRT routes will be wider. Thus, I was not impressed by Dino’s slide presentation shown during his press conference and in social media. He showed a photo of a congested road then changed the color of the two lanes in the middle. Wa gipalapdan ang dalan. Sayop man ang iyang tinamban.

Besides, PUJs will no longer be able to ply the main BRT routes. This is even one of the issues raised by Piston during a recent protest at the Cebu City Hall. Naglibog lang ko nganong di ni iapil sa equation ni Dino.

Another amusing thing. That transport expert Dino presented seemed confused about his data. He argued against the BRT in Cebu City but his presentation used Metro Cebu data. A Manila-based expert who cannot distinguish Cebu City from Metro Cebu is a joke.

Online, one pro-BRT advocate spread the canard that some P1 billion had already been disbursed by the World Bank and demanded for transparency. Nahutdan na taw nog isyu.

After all the years that the BRT had been written about by the press, we know this will happen. Based on a recent SunStar survey in Twitter, some 70 percent of respondents support the BRT.

Although Cebu, including Mayor Tomas Osmeña, is not against the Light Rail Transit (LRT), Dino suddenly emerged swinging against the BRT and pitted the LRT as the better project.

Libug lang ko, why has he not released yet a copy of the feasibility study made by the Singaporean group he mentioned? Was there a bidding? Was it an unsolicited proposal and a Swiss challenge happened? Perhaps, his camp needs to be transparent about these details.

But Pernia and DOTr officials now want to review the BRT project even with the budget already in place and the government is about to start implementation. The Commission on Audit (COA) even reported that delays in the BRT project has cost the government millions.

Reflecting on these, I asked myself could Dino be that powerful? Could he really stop the BRT?

Unexpectedly, Neda granted yesterday the budget increase from P10B to P17B. Boom! Can’t stop BRT diay.

•••

Customs chief Nick Faeldon reportedly got hospitalized as Congress digs deeper into the P6.4 billion shabu import mess. Resign na lang kaha, sir.
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