THE Regional Development Council (RDC ) 7 and the Cebu City Government vowed to hasten the endorsement of the proposed Cebu Rail Project.
RDC 7 Chairman Kenneth Cobonpue told SunStar Cebu they are just waiting for the exact alignment from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) so they can tackle the monorail project.
“We do not have any problem with that. We are just waiting for the exact details from the DOTr since we could not endorse it without the necessary details, but we will endorse it as soon as possible. In the next full council meeting, we will push for its endorsement,” he said on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.
The RDC 7 Infrastructure Committee will meet on Sept. 3, while its full council is scheduled to meet on Sept. 20.
The proposed Cebu Rail Project, which is estimated to cost P80 billion, is one of the components of the Metro Cebu Integrated and Intermodal Transport System (MCIITS).
In a separate development, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella also expressed his support for the project.
“We will endorse it, we will support it,” said Labella.
Seven months have passed since Udenna Infrastructure Corp. was granted original proponent status (OPS) for its proposed monorail project. However, the DOTr has yet to endorse the project to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) for technical review.
Jonji Gonzales, assistant secretary for the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav), said although the project will be implemented under a public-private partnership and is an unsolicited proposal, Neda still requires the endorsements of the City and the RDC 7.
“About two weeks ago, since they have sought help from the Opav, Secretary Michael Dino invited the mayors of Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu Lapu City for a meeting, where in the proponent was able to present the project to them,” he said.
Although the project documents have yet to reach Neda, he said they are already processing the acquisition of endorsements now so the project will have partial operability by the end of 2021.
“As of now, I believe the documents are already evaluated by DOTr Usec for Planning Benny Reinoso. Hopefully, two months from now, they can submit it to Neda,” Gonzales said.
Udenna Infrastructure, which originally proposed a Light Rail Transit system, was granted OPS for the proposed Cebu Rail Project in December 2018.
An OPS gives the company the right to match any competing offer in a Swiss challenge, a procurement process that invites other companies to bid for the project as mandated under the Build-operate-and-transfer Law.
The awarding of OPS to Udenna temporarily shut the door on another proponent of a monorail system in Cebu.
Udenna’s proposal involves the establishment of a Central Line and an Airport Line.
The Central Line will cover 17 kilometers from Talisay City to Cebu City, while the Airport Line will cover about nine kilometers from Cebu City to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City.
Both lines will converge at an interchange that will be established in Cebu City. (WBS/JLL/ With reports from Marites Villamor-Ilano)