THE Cebu City Council will decide on the fate of the skywalk near the Fuente Osmeña Circle and the skywalk across the Cebu Normal University along Osmeña Blvd. once their ownership is transferred to the City Government.
City Councilor Jerry Guardo, in an interview on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, said the Cebu City district engineer had told him the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is willing to turn over the two properties to the City Government.
“Once the skywalks are turned over, and the City becomes the rightful owner, it will manage them and decide on whether to demolish them or not,” Guardo said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
The councilor said he is urging the city’s district engineering office to promptly process the documents for the turnover because any delay would further hinder the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project.
“Any delay for the turnover and decision for the demolition of the two skywalks maka-cause jud og langan (will only cause more delays),” he said.
If it were up to the DPWH, it would not demolish the two structures. However, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the principal implementing agency of the CBRT project, wants to get rid of them.
According to the DOTr, the skywalks hamper the ongoing construction of the first package of the CBRT, which covers the distance of 2.38 kilometers from the Cebu South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Blvd.
Norvim Imbong, CBRT project manager, said in a previous interview that the two skywalks need to be removed because the two columns that support them obstruct the CBRT lanes, and their height of 5.4 meters conflicts with the CBRT bus station, which will have a height of 5.2 meters.
He said the skywalks’ stairs also reduce the width of the sidewalk and limit pedestrian access.
The skywalks have also become a haven for street dwellers.
Cebu City North District Rep. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar earlier suggested to the CBRT management to instead introduce a design that would not interfere with the ongoing construction.
But CBRT implementing unit officer Jejomar Duque pointed out that the skywalks do not even benefit senior citizens, persons with disability and pregnant women.
Funding for the construction of the skywalks came from the congressional funds of the late congressman Raul del Mar, father of Cutie.
The demolition of the skywalks had been delayed over the question of who owned them and could order their removal.