Cebu City, Province urged to resolve CBRT dispute to avoid inconvenience for Cebuanos

Cebu City, Province urged to resolve CBRT dispute to avoid inconvenience for Cebuanos
Photo by Enrico Santisas

THE Cebu City Government and the Cebu Provincial Government were urged to settle the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) disagreements, as it may result in inconvenience to majority of Cebuanos if it develops into a legal standoff.

Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival, during the Openline News Program on March 12, 2024, maintained his resolution passed during the recent regular session last Wednesday, March 6, for the Cebu City Government through Mayor Michael Rama and Cebu Provincial Government under Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to sit down and discuss a practical solution for ongoing CBRT project in the portion of the Osmeña Boulevard that was affected by the latter's cease-and-desist order.

The Council's minority floor leader said that if two leaders do not compromise and bring the matter to court, the Cebuanos will be the ones to suffer.

"Kung mag-standoff ni, unya maabot ang ting-uwan, unya naay daghan lungag diha, there will be some accidents diha nga mahitabo. Kinsa man ang mabasol diha, diba ang duha gihapon ka institution?" Archival said.

(If this develops into a standoff and the rainy season comes, flooding will be noted as there are many holes in the construction site. There will be some accidents. Who will be blamed for it? The two institutions, rights?)

He said CBRT was designed to alleviate the commuting woes of the city's residents from Barangay Bulacao and Talamban and for them to enjoy an efficient and seamless public transportation, particularly those who cannot afford to have a private vehicle.

Cebu City, Province urged to resolve CBRT dispute to avoid inconvenience for Cebuanos
Rama threatens lawsuit over CBRT opposition

Archival was a known ally of former mayor Tomas Osmeña, who has been considered the brains behind the CBRT project. He was also part of the team that conceptualized it.

But Rama on Thursday, March 7, refused to meet with Garcia to talk about the project, reiterating his desire to file charges against officials who called for the project’s halt.

“Why will I have to sit down? They should know where they are. That’s a matter of territory,” Rama said on Friday, March 8, 2024.

With the mayor's refusal, Archival said he is planning to submit another resolution, reiterating his earlier call for dialogue between the two local government units.

He added that he is open to a suggestion where the City Council initiates a dialogue directly with the Provincial Board to reach a compromise on the project.

Cebu City, Province urged to resolve CBRT dispute to avoid inconvenience for Cebuanos
Disputes should’ve been settled before implementation, says Imee

"Ang ako siguro kay from the Vice Mayor itself and the Vice Governor. So, we will be having that resolution, and I will make that," Archival said.

He said they acknowledge that the governor's argument is valid, as the bus station, which is part of the CBRT project located in front of the Cebu Capitol building, will potentially block the view of the “heritage” infrastructure built in 1936.

He also suggested that both officials avoid throwing antics in the media, regarding the project, as this will result in more tension due to emotions involved.

"Instead of going to the media, doing some arguments, we are asking them to sit down and try to find ways nga pwede ba nato ni masabot. Kanang if kanang estasyonon naa duol sa Capitol kay kung pwede ba natu i-atras," Archival said.

"I have talked to Engineer (Norvin) Imbong (the project manager of the CBRT) and they have already raised these items to DOTr (Department of Transporation) og gina-aksyunan nana nila," he added.

Archival added that there is a possibility of redesigning the bus stations, including shortening the height of its roof to adjust to the view of the Capitol building.

In his opinion, halting the CBRT project will result in putting Cebu in a bad light for future benefactors and affect its credit rating from the perspective of the international financial institutions that approved loan packages for vital government programs and projects.

On February 27, Garcia issued Memorandum 16-2024, ordering the Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd., contractor of the CBRT Package 1, to cease construction of bus stations along Osmeña Blvd. in front of the Capitol building, citing lacking necessary authorization from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

A day after, during the Council’s regular session on February 28, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, who was the governor's nephew, urged the Office of the Building Official to issue a cease-and-desist order against the construction of the CBRT bus station through his privilege speech.

Cebu City, Province urged to resolve CBRT dispute to avoid inconvenience for Cebuanos
Garcia: Osmeña Boulevard under Cebu Provincial Government

Vice Mayor Garcia argued that the Capitol building has heritage protection following the declaration of a National Historical Landmark by the NHCP.

Rama criticized his vice mayor for meeting with Governor Garcia and City officials to discuss CBRT matters, calling it a betrayal. He also expressed his disapproval during a meeting with the legislative body.

Meanwhile, Osmeña cautioned the governor about the possibility of legal action if she continues to impede the CBRT construction.

Cebu City, Province urged to resolve CBRT dispute to avoid inconvenience for Cebuanos
Tomas hits back at Gwen

The CBRT project's groundbreaking ceremony was led by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on February 27, 2023, and was joined by the mayor, governor, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, and House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

The project has a funding allocation of P28.8 billion, funded by the World Bank, French Development Agency, and the Philippine Government. (EHP)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.