WITH President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to help Cebu solve its traffic woes, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino hopes the “unsolicited proposal” for the proposed monorail project in Cebu will be approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) within a week.
In a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, Dino said he plans to meet with Neda Secretary Ernesto Pernia this week to push for the approval of the project.
“Neda has its own processes. This week, we will be talking with Secretary Pernia to push for the approval of the unsolicited proposal for the monorail here in Cebu,” said Dino.
Submitted by Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Infrastructure Corp., the unsolicited proposal involves building an P80 billion monorail system in Cebu.
The monorail will traverse Cebu City all the way to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City for its first phase. The second phase will run from Talisay City to Mandaue City, while the third phase will be from Carcar City to Danao City.
The monorail system will serve as the mass transport backbone of Metro Cebu and will have a capacity of 12,000-15,000 passengers per hour per direction. The monorail will be faster than the light rail transit (LRT), saving commuters time.
The monorail project in Cebu is expected to have its partial operability by 2022.
Dino called the press conference to explain what Duterte meant during the Sinulog Grand Parade last Sunday, when the President advised Cebu to use technology used in Manila, such as the LRT, to solve traffic.
Duterte said Cebu needs trains and skyways as its roads could no longer be widened. He said narrow roads made it hard to implement the Bus Rapid
Dino expressed disappointment at Cebu City Councilor Joy Augustus Young for questioning on Monday Duterte’s suggestions.
Young said “all those Manila technology” had not solved the traffic problem in Manila.
Young is allied with the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan of former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, who supported the establishment of a BRT system in the city rather than the LRT.
Dino said what Duterte meant was that with Cebu being an old city, it would be difficult to expand its roads, which is why he suggested elevated structures as traffic solutions.
When roads are full, Dino said, “there’s nowhere else to expand but up.”
“Manila is also bursting because of traffic. That’s the reason it is using subways and additional LRT,” said Dino.
“To be honest, I’m sorry, but Councilor Joy Young can’t understand me. He’s questioning the wisdom of the President. But Young has been a politician in Cebu for 30 years. I think his wisdom has not been used and now it has even expired,” Dino told reporters.
Udenna Infrastructure Corp. and its foreign partner were granted original proponent status (OPS) for its proposed Cebu Rail Project (monorail) under an unsolicited proposal submitted to the Department of Transportation 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 Transfer Law. The project is now undergoing review at the Neda.
Both the monorail project and the P16 billion BRT project are components of the Metro Cebu Integrated Intermodal Transport System.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry incoming president Steven Yu said President Duterte’s promise to fund infrastructure and transportation projects in Cebu showed his “strong concern” for Cebu’s growth.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Virgilio Espeleta also said the business sector was still hoping that a mass transport system would be the Duterte administration’s banner infrastructure project for Cebu.
Espeleta said Cebu had a lot of “catching up to do” in terms of infrastructure, which needs to be modernized to sustain its economic growth. ( RSR, CSL )