Nalzaro: Blocking of Mandaue underpass project

OPPOSITION by some quarters, especially from some “influential” members of the Regional Development Council (RDC), to the construction of a depressed structure along UN Ave. in Mandaue City is not because of the lack of traffic management plan by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials but because of the vested interests of some RDC officials and their businessmen friends.

Those who opposed the project are the same ones calling for the relief of DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas because of the latter’s purported incompetence in handling the project without coming up with alternative routes to address the possible monstrous traffic jams once the project will commence.

The RDC’s Infrastructure and Development Committee (IDC) chaired by businessman Glenn Soco has recommended the deferment of the project until DPWH comes up with the traffic management plan. Soco claimed that the DPWH failed to present a comprehensive and detailed alternative traffic plan and did not conduct public consultations.

Soco said that the construction will create more harm than good. “We will be made to sacrifice for something that will not solve anything as both road projects will not in any way increase road capacity,” he said. But I can’t see his point. DPWH officials are not politicians who will come up with projects without feasibility studies.

DPWH is just waiting for the winning bidder, a Tacloban City-based contractor, to come up with the traffic management plan because it is part of the deal. After that, DPWH will have to negotiate with the owners of the lot that will be used as alternative routes for possible expropriation.

The process can’t be done overnight. Why don’t the group Soco help DPWH in finding solutions to the possible traffic woes instead of blocking the project?

As to the lack of consultation, DPWH has been consulting the Mandaue City Government and Rep. Jonas Cortes. Mayor Luigi Quisumbing can attest to that.

Those opposing the project cited the construction of an underpass in the south district of Cebu City. But it is just natural that we experience inconvenience when a road is built.

Isn’t Soco opposing the project because his business allies will be affected by its implementation? Sources said that the owner of a hospital along UN Ave. and other establishment owners there are lobbying for the cancellation of the project because their establishments will be affected.

Why “shoot” Canlas for doing something? The stakeholders should be even thankful to him because his office was responsible in securing the funds for this project. Other infrastructure projects get funds from regular infrastructure allocations and not from congressional funds.

I am not close to Canlas but I find him competent in his position. Majority of the congressmen in region 7 can even vouch for his integrity and competence as shown in their manifesto of support for him.

We have to sacrifice now for the future. The project, once completed, will lessen the traffic problem in the area. But some people don’t want to do so because of their vested interests.
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