THE Cebu Provincial Development Council (PDC) endorsed yesterday a proposal by the Minglanilla town council to study the opening of the old Philippine Railways as an alternative road from Naga to Cebu City.
The hope is that traffic on the Cebu South Road, known as Natalio Bacalso Ave., may be decongested if an alternative road from the City of Naga to the South Road Properties (SRP) is built.
Another resolution the PDC approved was the Provincial Government’s proposal to conduct a feasibility study for a 550-hectare economic zone. Like the proposed alternative road, this will be in Naga, Minglanilla and Talisay City.
An international port, an ocean park and a light industrial zone are among the proposed areas of the economic zone, which will support the growth of “other developing municipalities and cities” in Cebu, the PDC said in its resolution.
With the approval of these resolutions, the projects specified will be endorsed to the Regional Development Council (RDC).
Minglanilla Mayor Elanito Peña endorsed Resolution 22 of the town council, which sought to fund and conduct a study on the feasibility of building a road on what used to be the Philippine Railways tracks.
The old railway ran parallel to Natalio Bacalso Ave. and was located along the Minglanilla shoreline, about a kilometer away from the main highway. To the south, the track used to stretch all the way to Argao town.
When Peña presented the resolution yesterday, there was no technical description attached to the proposal.
But in an interview, he said the proposed road will start from Barangay Tungkil in Minglanilla, cross a rice field in Barangay Pooc in Talisay City, and exit beside the Talisay City Hall then proceed to the South Coastal Road in Cebu City.
The PDC, headed by Gov. Hilario Davide III, also endorsement to the RDC a feasibility study for a 550-hectare economic zone of Cebu Province.
During the full PDC council meeting yesterday, the mayors, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) district engineers, and representatives of various government line agencies submitted their budget proposals and resolutions for approval and endorsement to the RDC.
After getting the RDC’s endorsement, the resolutions will be forwarded to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) board, before these are sent to the President for inclusion in next year’s national budget.
‘Go to Argao’
Peña told Sun.Star Cebu that if approved, DPWH will fund the P50-million feasibility study for the alternative road project. The amount is reflected in the separate DPWH programs, activities and projects (PAPs) resolution submitted to PDC yesterday, for possible inclusion in the 2016 budgets.
He said the national highway from Naga to Talisay is seeing heavy traffic and bottlenecks in some areas, and there is a great need for an alternative road.
Attached to the approved PDC resolution is the resolution of the Minglanilla Municipal Council, requesting Governor Davide to conduct a study on an alternative road.
During the meeting, Dalaguete Mayor Ronald Cesante, who supported Peña’s move, suggested that the study be extended to Argao, where the old railway ended.
Elizabeth Ybañez, who sits as a private sector representative in the PDC, also suggested that the proposed road be developed for mass transit.
Also approved in yesterday’s PDC meeting was a resolution endorsing a feasibility study, to be funded in 2016, on a proposed 550-hectare economic zone.
Association of Barangay Councils President and Provincial Board Member Celestino Martinez III, who sits in the PDC executive committee, moved for the approval.
Engineer Edgar Sibonga, Capitol’s consultant on infrastructure programs, answered some questions on the proposed zone, which is meant to solve the “need to decongest highly urbanized areas.”
The proposed economic zone will include a commercial zone (209 hectares), light industrial zone (218 hectares), international port with a berthing space of seven kilometers (40 hectares), an ocean park (55 hectares), marina (15 hectares) and a probiotic demo farm (13 hectares).
Mayor Peña, for his part, explained that Minglanilla will not spend for the development of its portion of the ecozone, as the town will seek a private partner.
Also present during the full council meeting yesterday were representatives from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Education, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Agriculture.
While officials from the Province, towns and government agencies went over their proposals in the PDC meeting, residents and motorists complained about the noise and heavy traffic caused by ongoing roadwork on the national highway in Minglanilla.
Mayor Peña requested the public to be patient, saying the ongoing roadwork by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will fix the roads.
A resident, who declined to identify herself, said the roadwork in Barangay Ward 1, Minglanilla began last Tuesday night and the ruckus disturbed those living nearby.
Elmer Dalumpines, a resident of Barangay Tungkop in the same town, said it took him an hour to reach his house from the city, because the lane going south was closed for the
“Traffic na gani ang lungsod every day, mosamot ug ka-traffic kung mag-guba pa sila sa dan (We endured traffic every day before the roadwork began. If they keep tearing up these roads, the traffic will only get worse),” Dalumpines added.
Mayor Peña, in a separate interview, told Sun.Star Cebu that the road repairs by QM Builders and DPWH will be done only after peak traffic hours, or from 8 p.m. to dawn the next day.
He said that personnel from DPWH came to his office the other day to coordinate with him regarding the road rehabilitation project.
Aside from the national highway, the DPWH is also conducting roadwork on an access road in Barangay Calajoan, the mayor added. He appealed for the public’s understanding.