CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña criticized Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella after the latter blamed him for the “monstrous” traffic brought about by the ongoing construction of a multi-million underpass project on N. Bacalso Ave.

“Mr. Labella, what are you doing? You’ve been a government official for 15 years. Why don’t you help out? Am I supposed to do everything, like figuring out which roads to widen?”

Labella had said the heavy traffic in the area could have been avoided if “certain City officials had exercised more prudence and not plunged recklessly into undertaking a project.”

The statement came after Osmeña announced last week that he will ask the City Council to declare a state of emergency to allow public utility jeepneys (PUJs) to ply the Cebu South Coastal Road.

For the declaration to be made, the City Transportation Office needs to write the City Council. An ordinance currently prohibits PUJs from using the coastal road.

In his press statement, Labella said the declaration will require a “serious” review of the policy considerations made as bases for limiting the use of the coastal road to certain types of vehicles.

He added that both the proponents and the implementing agency had no contingency plans to mitigate the traffic that the construction of the Mambaling tunnel would bring about.

The vice mayor also called Osmeña the “monster’s father”, with the monster he is referring to being the heavy traffic.

In response, Mayor Osmeña said the Department of Public Works and Highways is under the Office of the President.

Since Labella sits as president of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino– Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Cebu City, he should raise his concerns to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, he said.

“I don’t mind taking part of the blame. But don’t take this position as if you’re not supposed to do anything. We’re exhausting all means, we’re trying everything. As we test, we’re risking failure but we test anyway.” (RTF)