CBRT materials near Capitol cleared after Gwen’s order

CBRT materials near Capitol cleared after Gwen’s order
CBRT NEAR CAPITOL. This photo, taken on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, shows a portion of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit’s (CBRT) Package 1 near the Capitol building cleared of construction materials. On Tuesday night, July 2, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia ordered the clearing of the remaining construction materials and unfinished steel structures. / AMPER CAMPAÑA

HOURS after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia ordered the clearing of the remaining construction materials and unfinished steel structures along Osmeña Blvd. near the Capitol building, workers were seen late Tuesday evening, July 2, 2024, removing materials in the area.

On Tuesday, the proponents of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) were given one week by Garcia to clear out the steel structures and construction materials, citing safety hazards to motorists and the alleged continued violation of heritage laws.

The official social media platform of the Cebu Provincial Government reported on Tuesday evening that Garcia met with CBRT project manager Norvin Imbong at the Capitol.

The report quoted the governor as saying that the presence of these materials and structures was also in continued defiance of the Capitol’s memorandum on Feb. 27, placing the construction of two CBRT bus stations in the area on hold.

Garcia also stressed the ownership of the Provincial Government of Osmeña Blvd. from in front of the Capitol to the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda.

Rent

If the proponent failed to comply, Garcia said that the Provincial Government would be forced to seek payment of rent.

“You are already stepping on the owner’s rights, and the owner happens to be the Province of Cebu. I will advise you unless you want to pay rent, tangtanga na (remove them),” Garcia said in the report.

This refers to the two bus stations of the ongoing CBRT Package 1 project, which spans from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol Building.

In the same report, Imbong responded to Garcia that he would endorse the matter to the Central Office, which has the authority to decide on the situation.

The CBRT project’s implementing agency is the Department of Transportation.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach out to Imbong for further details on the matter; however, he has yet to reply as of press time.

Last Feb. 27, Garcia issued Memorandum 16-2024 ordering the Chinese contractors and project implementers of the CBRT Package 1 to cease further construction of bus stations along Osmeña Blvd., fronting the Capitol building due to potential heritage law violations.

Before it can resume the civil works, the contractor and proponent were told to secure necessary permits and seek approval from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) for the construction of the bus stations in front of the Capitol building under Republic Act 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

In compliance, the contractor halted all activities in the area and left the construction materials, including the steel roofing frames for the Foglia leaf pillars in the middle of Osmeña Blvd.

The proponent has started the paperwork to secure the approval of the NHCP.

The Provincial Government added that the Capitol Building was declared a National Historical Landmark by NHCP in 2008, and it was entitled to statutory protection for historical buildings more than 50 years old.

The Capitol building was built and completed during the American occupation in the 1930s.

Under statutory protection, any construction within heritage sites such as the Capitol building and its buffer zones requires authorization from the NHCP as mandated by law.

Garcia argued that the Foglia Leaf design of the bus stations potentially blocks the view of the Capitol Building Facade starting from the Fuente Osmeña Circle, which was a potential violation of the Vista Corridor principle of the building. / EHP

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