CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama. File Photo from Cebu City PIO

P6.1B needed for right of way

A LOCAL legislator has revealed that the total amount needed for the road right-of-way (RROW) acquisition for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project is P6.1 billion.

In a text message on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, Cebu City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, chairman of the committee on transportation, said the total allocation earmarked for the RROW acquisition has been increased from P1.5 billion to P6.1 billion.

However, Cuenco said what is needed for now is the P1.5 billion, as disclosed by Benedicto Guia, officer-in-charge program manager of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), during the executive session on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Cuenco said the P6.1 billion is already included in the total project cost of the CBRT, which is P28 billion, and not on top of it.

Cuenco also said it is not the responsibility of the Cebu City Government to procure the needed amount since the RROW acquisition is already incorporated in the total project cost.

“It’s not the responsibility of the City government to produce the budget for the road right of way because it is part of the project cost,” Cuenco said on Saturday.

He said the money will come from the National Government through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

On Wednesday, Guia said the initial computation for the RROW acquisition was P920 million, adding that the amount of P460 million has already been downloaded to the City Government.

Rama’s optimism

Guia also said there is another P2 billion which the Department of Public Works and Highways handled for all the affected lots along the national road. The amount is on top of the P460 million.

On Thursday, Feb. 8, Mayor Michael Rama remained optimistic that the issues raised by the City Council, including the budget and road right of way, would be resolved.

“Dili angay kabalak-an (There’s no need to worry about)… kanang kuwang sa (the lack of a) budget. There are options,” he said on the teleradyo program “Ingna’ng Mayor.”

He said he wanted the DOTr to address any concerns regarding obstruction and proceed without imposing any preconditions.

“Let them focus on what can be finished,” he said.

Rama said the CBRT is a system that ought to be smart. He described it as a one-ticket system but did not elaborate.

“Maabot ra jud na. Basta pasensya lang (We will eventually get there. Just be patient),” the mayor said, referring to the completion of the CBRT project.

The entire CBRT system operations, up to Package 4, are expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2027. But partial operations may begin after the targeted completion of Package 1 in the second quarter of this year. Package 1 covers the route from the Cebu South Bus Terminal to the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

Earlier, Cuenco said that of the P28.8 billion budget for the CBRT, P17 billion will be from the national government through the General Appropriations Act, while over P10 billion will be foreign funding.

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