THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is proposing to build a light centrally powered rail transit (LCRT) in Cebu City.
If the Cebu City Council approves the proposal, the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIDRC) will build a five-coach prototype that will run a selected route in the city.
The Cebu City Government will not spend a centavo on the prototype, but MIDRC consultant Glicerio Sicat said the local government and the Department of Public Works and Highways will have to take care of road-widening works, if needed.
DOST-MIDRC expects the prototype development to cost P28 million. It has a P90-million budget to develop LCRT systems in the country.
Sicat said the prototype can be built in stages.
Apart from Cebu City, DOST-MIDRC identified the cities of Baguio and Clark in Pampanga as viable sites for the LCRT.
The local government of Baguio City recently approved the DOST-MIDRC proposal.
A draft memorandum of understanding awaits the approval of the Cebu City Council.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he is open to other modes of mass transportation.
The project to establish a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Cebu City got initial approval from the National Government but has yet to take off.
Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) Executive Director Rafael Yap said the LCRT and the BRT can complement each other.
The route of the LCRT has to be studied.
After hearing the DOST-MIDRC presentation during an executive session last week, Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon said an alternative livelihood for jeepney drivers who might be displaced by the LCRT should be studied as well.
Rama is interested in the prototype of the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) that the DOST built at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. But he does not like to have an elevated train platform, saying it could mar the Cebu City skyline.
The DOST said in its presentation that a rail system would address traffic-associated problems.
It said traffic jams cause pollution, emotional stress and financial losses. These also reduce workers’ productivity and contribute to the wear and tear of vehicles.
Engineer Arlene Estacio of DOST-MIDRC said some local companies can manufacture the prototype.