Tuesday, September 28, 2021

‘Revive metro bill’

THE Cebu Provincial Board (PB) has asked Rep. Raul del Mar to revive his bill that pushed to create the Metro Cebu Development Authority (MCDA), which would handle urban problems like traffic, garbage disposal and pollution.

Del Mar (Cebu City, north) said he will meet with the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB) to take up suggestions from the local government units involved.

The PB made its request to the Cebu City congressman through a resolution approved last Feb. 9.

Traffic has become “a great frustration” among Cebuanos, said the resolution sponsored by PB Member Arleigh Sitoy.

“Agencies such as the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board exist…but a more focused and more responsive body is crucial,” a part of the resolution said.

Interviewed separately, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he has long been in favor of the bill’s approval. He also believes the creation of the authority is in line with the MCDCB thrusts and its Mega Cebu 20150 vision.

‘Less ego’

The MCDCB has identified “metropolitan management” as one of the strategies to solve problems on traffic, waste management, poverty and other challenges in making Cebu more livable, more competitive and more sustainable.

“It (creation of authority) will bring matters to be coordinated and less ego-tripping. It will get one another to participate,” Rama said.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella is also for the passage of the bill, adding that is long overdue.

“I am for it because one local government unit is not isolated from the other. We are all connected, so we really need to harmonize in order to address common problems such as flooding and traffic among many others,” he said.

Mandaue City Administrator James Abadia said urban problems shared by local government units in Metro Cebu can be addressed faster if the Metro Cebu Development Authority is created.

“It is high time for Metro Cebu to have an authority that has jurisdiction over issues that transcend political boundaries. Issues such as traffic, drainage, flooding and solid waste management can only be addressed by this entity. However, the autonomy of local government units must also be respected,” he told Sun.Star Cebu in a text message.

Good start

“The MCDCB is a very good start to address issues and provide direction for Cebu.

However, the creation of the MCDCB is based on common agreement. The creation of an authority, which I believe is part of MCDCB’s recommendations, would be based on a Republic Act and would have more legal compunction,” Abadia said.

“In the end, both bodies would complement each other. I would like to see the MCDCB, which is composed of both the public and private sectors, to coexist with the authority,” Abadia added.

Sitoy, who sponsored the PB’s resolution, said the MCDCB cannot address day-to-day contingencies in traffic congestion and disaster preparedness.

In March last year, four congressmen from Cebu, including del Mar, said they were willing to sponsor a bill to convert the MCDCB into the MCDA.

The other congressmen were Reps. Rodrigo Abellanosa (Cebu City, south), Joseph “Ace” Durano (Cebu Province, fifth district) and Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas (Cebu Province, first district).

The MCDCB has been working with the Japan International Cooperation Agency on its Mega Cebu 2050 vision.


Del Mar told Sun.Star Cebu, in a phone interview, that he is still waiting for the suggestions of the local government units on what amendments they want in the bill.

“The first time I filed it there was no unanimity from congressmen. On the second time, there was no unanimity among the local government units,” he said.

Reports in the Sun.Star Cebu news archive show that del Mar first filed the MCDA bill during his first three terms, from 1987 to 1998. When his son Raoul succeeded him in the House of Representatives, the younger del Mar also filed the bill.

One version of the bill states in its explanatory note that the MCDA was not intended to “duplicate and complicate existing functions” but instead work toward a “rational and well-coordinated delivery” of basic services.

Some projects to fix widespread problems “transcend political boundaries” or require resources that are too much for local governments to raise on their own, the bill also pointed out.

Mas maayo naay suporta sa tanan (It would be better to get everyone’s support) before we can re-file the bill so that we will not be wasting time,” del Mar said.
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