Cebu City gov't plans 8 bridges, solar farm

(Photo by Eiver Ky Villegas)
(Photo by Eiver Ky Villegas)

(UPDATED) AS PART of his Singapore-like vision for Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama brought up key issues in the city, including the completion of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), disaster resilience, coastal development, resettlement and the monorail project during the testimonial dinner for the 86th Charter Day celebration on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.

Rama said their primary concern is finishing the construction of the CCMC, pointing out that the City will not be spending for further work on the hospital.

But video presentations before Rama gave his speech also showed the other items he planned for Cebu City, including eight bridges, a solar farm and integrated public terminals.

“We would wish and pursue Operation Smile and the CCMC with no single centavo should come from the coffers of the City Hall. We will finish it within this year,” he said.

Last November, Rama said he would terminate the P907 million contract of the joint venture of M.E. Sicat Construction and Avecs Corp., which had been working on the fourth phase of the project, particularly the construction of the seventh to 10th floors of the CCMC and finishing the third and fourth floors. Rama cited delays in the project completion for his decision. As of early February, though, Rama had yet to formally sign the termination of the contract. The public hospital has been under construction since 2015.

On Friday, Rama said they will maximize the use of public-private partnerships to bolster the construction and creation of major projects.

Disaster resilience

In his speech, Rama mentioned the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria, saying the country and the city cannot afford to suffer a disaster of that scale.

“We have a vivid recollection on TV, Facebook of what had occurred in Turkey and likewise in Syria. The Philippines cannot be an exception. Cebu City cannot be an exception. We must prepare. Proactive measures have to be pursued; otherwise, it would be an unimaginable regret if we did not do our part today,” he said.

He said that in the days to come, the Office of the Building Official will assess buildings and structures and check for possible violations.

Projects

The mayor also brought up coastal development, resettlement and the monorail project that are in line for the city.

Rama mentioned “eight bridges connecting SRP (South Road Properties) to the mainland, a 40-meter-wide south boulevard, a monorail alongside and an initial 30,000 unit mixed-use housing development project.”

He said that in the event settlers are affected by the City’s clearing of the three-meter easement of waterways for coastal projects, the affected population “should not be relocated out of Cebu City. It shall be an integrated approach. We cannot drive them out.”

“Let’s make our city livable. Let’s make our city smart. Let’s make our city all of us to be proud, so that death will come upon us and we leave a legacy and that legacy, that is our responsibility,” Rama said at the end of his speech.

During the presentation of short videos before Rama gave his speech, some of the projects that the mayor wants to pursue during his term were mentioned, and these included the construction of integrated public transport terminals by SM and Filinvest, and a solar farm with greenhouses by Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

Also mentioned in the video presentations were projects at the SRP or in any other part of the city by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, the development that real estate company Federal Land Inc. would like to build in Nivel Hills; eight bridges, the roundabout near SM City Seaside Cebu and the South Boulevard at SRP, as well as the Lahug-Guadalupe bypass road by the Department of Public Works and Highways and construction firm DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI).

The idea of constructing integrated public transport terminals was floated by SM and Filinvest during discussions with the Cebu City officials led by Rama during one of the mayor’s “investment-begging” trips in Manila, according to Cerwin Eviota, the mayor’s special assistant for communications.

The two companies, he said Saturday, are operating some integrated transport terminals in Metro Manila.

As for the solar farm with greenhouses, Eviota said MPIC “thought the mountain barangays would be a good site for such,” and the greenhouses will be a “multi-story type.”

For the projects at SRP, Eviota said Aboitiz Equity Ventures will “check and study any possible investment at SRP.”

He further said that Sabin Aboitiz and Rama have agreed to explore the possibility of converting the old coal power plant in Barangay Ermita into a park.

As for Federal Land, the company sent the Cebu City Government “years back” a letter of intent to acquire a lot at the SRP, but the real estate developer later recalled it.

Federal Land, however, presented two weeks ago to the mayor its planned expansion plans in Nivel Hills, along the road in front of Marco Polo Plaza, Eviota said.

Bridge and road

As for the construction of eight bridges, there is a commitment from the DPWH for its realization; however, DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan had told the City that his office will still need to source and allocate funds for these projects.

The DPWH has funds for the Lahug-Guadalupe bypass road, according to Eviota.

He said the mayor had tried to convince the contractor, DMCI, that the bypass road will connect to Paseo Arcenas in Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe, considering the construction firm has upcoming projects in the area.

DMCI’s engineers and finance team still have to study the mayor’s request.

As for the roundabout and the South Boulevard at the SRP, their construction began last year, Eviota said.

Real property tax code

Mayor Rama, in his speech, said he will be “reintroducing the revision” to the city’s tax code “by May, and even before May.”

He called these “amendments, or taxation appreciation.”

The mayor had vetoed earlier this month the revised Real Property Tax Code passed by the City Council last December, saying it did not express the true values of properties and deprives the City Government of a proper source of funds.

During the testimonial dinner, the Cebu City Government gave awards to 86 individuals and institutions in line with its 86th Charter Day celebration.

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