Disputes should’ve been settled before implementation, says Imee

Disputes should’ve been settled before implementation, says Imee

PRESIDENTIAL sister Sen. Imee Marcos said disagreements over the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project should have been resolved before approval of civil works.

However, the lawmaker said in a press conference in Cebu City on Saturday, March 9, 2024, that she doesn’t want to meddle in the issue between Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

“I do not want to interfere since this is not my territory. I am certain the local officials know much better... Sadly, these [disagreements] all should have been settled before the National Government launched it,” said Marcos, who was in Cebu for a series of engagements including the distribution of the emergency housing assistance and cash distribution to Typhoon Odette (Rai) victims in Mandaue City. The typhoon hit Cebu on Dec. 16, 2021.

Mayor Rama is at odds with Governor Garcia who, along with the Provincial Board (PB) and the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu chapter, called for a halt to the project.

Blocking Capitol’s facade

Garcia, the PB and the LMP Cebu chapter said one of the bus stations being built along Osmeña Blvd. blocks the facade of the Capitol building, which is covered by the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

The law requires the protection of structures older than 50 years and authorization from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines for construction in designated buffer zones.

The PB and the LMP Cebu Chapter also assailed the project as it has caused traffic, affecting people from the province who have transactions in Cebu City.

Rama, for his part, said the Provincial Government and the LMP Cebu Chapter should not meddle in Cebu City projects.

The mayor also criticized Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, nephew of the governor. He branded the vice mayor and city officials’ meeting with the governor as “a stab in the back.”

Settling differences

Vice Mayor Garcia also urged the Office of the Building Official during a regular council session last Feb. 28 to issue a cease and desist order against the construction of a bus station near the Capitol. The council approved his motion.

Marcos said she hopes Rama and Governor Garcia will settle their differences on the CBRT project soon.

“I hope they make amends soon, so we can finally have a solution for this,” she said in a mix of Tagalog and English.

CBRT is a transportation system in the city designed to provide efficient and reliable bus services along dedicated lanes, aiming to alleviate traffic congestion and improve public transportation in the city.

The CBRT project comprises three packages.

Currently under construction is the first package, which includes a 2.38-kilometer segregated bus lane with four bus stations and 1.15 kilometers of pedestrian improvements, starting from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Blvd.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led the CBRT project’s groundbreaking rites on Feb. 27, 2023.

He was joined by Rama and Governor Garcia along with other government officials.

Rama and Governor Garcia backed the President during his campaign in the May 2022 presidential elections. / KJF


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