BEFORE an underpass is built in Mandaue City, some officials of the Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) want the "poor planning" for the project improved.

In a press conference Monday, March 19, RDC co-chairman Kenneth Cobonpue and infrastructure development committee head Glenn Soco explained the council's decision to ask for feasibility studies on three underpass projects proposed by Cebu City Representative Raul del Mar.

Del Mar walked out of the RDC meeting last March 16 in Cebu City after the council decided to endorse only the amount for feasibility studies (nearly P1 billion) on three of del Mar's proposed underpass projects, instead of a larger budget (about P16 billion) for actual construction.

Two other proposed underpasses in Cebu City, including one from D. Jakosalem St. to Banilad, were not endorsed at all.

Interviewed separately, Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III said he believes that Representative Raul del Mar (Cebu City) and the RDC can still iron out their differences.

In his press conference, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña described the current RDC officials as "incompetent." Neither Davide nor Osmeña attended last Friday's RDC meeting.

"We want things in sequence. Maabot ra man ta anang ilang underpass. Unaha lang una ang mga improvements sa intersections. Kami, technical mi manubag. Kinsa may incompetent? Mangutana mi og data unsay buhaton, di man sila maka provide (We will get to those underpasses, but first let's improve the intersections. We provide technical details when we answer. So who's incompetent? We have asked for data, but they have not provided that yet)," Cobonpue said.

It's important that we learn the lessons from the heavy traffic caused by an ongoing underpass construction on N. Bacalso Ave., Cobonpue also said.

Del Mar's walkout highlighted some differences in what projects the Department of Public Works and Highways wants to prioritize and what the RDC's choices are. There is no underpass among the infrastructure projects identified in the Regional Development Plan for 2017-2022, which the RDC-Central Visayas approved in April 2017.

Cobonpue, who assumed co-chairmanship of the RDC in March 2017, pointed out that flyovers and underpasses wouldn't work well or improve the flow of traffic, without the affected intersections being improved first. (Razel V. Cuizon/SunStar Cebu)