DPWH backs flyovers, underpasses for Metro Cebu

THE public works department will help pay for the flyovers and underpasses Cebu City Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña wants to pursue in two Metro Cebu cities, an official said Monday.

These projects were indeed included in a Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) study on developing Metro Cebu in a sustainable way, said Engineer Nicomedes Leonor. He’s affiliated with the Cebu City District Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“As for funding, some will be sourced from DPWH and others may be from the other funding institutions that will be tapped by Mayor Osmeña,” Leonor said.

He explained these projects were initiated by the Regional Development Council and National Economic and Development Authority, which requested for technical assistance from Jica for its feasibility study, in coordination with the Metro Cebu Development and Coordination Board.

But not everyone is convinced the 10 flyovers and 10 underpasses are necessary to solve traffic.

Businessman and environmentalist Joel Lee said that the P7 billion needed for the projects could be used in other ways, like improving drainage systems.

“Traffic is not really a problem if authorities know how to solve it. For example, the government should not allow one family to own a fleet of cars. Or it can construct good drainage because traffic becomes terrible during floods,” said Lee.

He was part of a group that opposed flyover projects intended for Cebu City, calling instead for other traffic solutions.

Lawyer Aaron Pedro of the Cebu Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Environment and of Green Thumb Coalition said they hope the incoming mayor will sit down with stakeholders.

“Otherwise, he runs the risk of committing the same mistake of the outgoing administration especially on matters concerning the environment. There should be room for engagement,” said Pedrosa.

Teody Navea of Sanlakas-Cebu urged the Cebu City Government to consult people about these infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, the Mandaue City Government plans to provide P2,000 to each barangay tanod to help the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team) sort out traffic.

A draft ordinance proposes to set aside P12.96 million as financial assistance to the barangay public safety officers (BPSO) or barangay tanods, so they can keep communities safe and assist traffic authorities.

That amount will cover only this year’s assistance. But it can be included in the 2017 budget.

Councilor Ernie Manatad, who drafted the ordinance, said the cash will help the tanods, some of whom get only P1,500 per month as honorarium.

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