THE Cebu Traffic Management Board (CTMB) has issued a resolution requiring the mandatory referral of any proposed closure of national roads to the board.
This was after the Cebu Provincial Government received a letter from the Cebu City Government regarding road closures for the Sinulog 2024 Festival.
CTMB, chaired by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, Resolution 1-2024 which states that all concerned parties having a planned closure either permanent or temporary must call the attention of the board for review and approval.
The resolution was posted on the Sugbo News page, the official media arm of the Cebu Provincial Government.
The board must also collaborate with relevant government agencies to develop and implement a sustainable traffic management plan for the national roads.
The resolution was signed by Ernesto Gregorio Jr., director of the Department of Public Works and Highways 7 together with the members of the board and the advisory council composed of various local chief executives from different towns and cities under the Cebu Provincial Government.
On Thursday, Jan. 18, Garcia strongly opposed the temporary closure of Natalio Bacalso Ave. (N. Bacalso Ave.) for vehicular traffic, specifically the portion cornering V. Rama Ave. and Osmeña Blvd., due to the inconvenience it will cause to the commuting public, especially to those traveling to-and-from northern and southern Cebu.
Garcia made this pronouncement during the coordination meeting with relevant government agencies to prevent gridlock traffic on the major national roads during the Sinulog weekend.
The temporary road closure was to make way for the solemn foot procession on Saturday, Jan. 20. But hours before the start of the procession on Saturday, the Augustinian Friars made changes to the route.
From the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu the image of Snr. Sto Niño passed through Jakosalem St.- Magallanes St., - Borromeo St., - Leon Kilat St., - J. Alcantara St. (instead of the N. Bacalso Ave.), - V. Rama Ave., - B. Rodriguez St., - Osmeña Blvd, and straight back to the Basilica.
During a meeting on Friday, Jan. 19 with Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Garcia and Cebu City Councilor Rey Gealon, who also chairs the Traffic Management Committee, Garcia expressed her opposition to the old route calling it “illogical, irrational, at the expense of public safety.”
After the meeting, Garcia ordered the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines -Joint Task Group, Philippine Coast Guard and Civil Security Unit to ensure that the N. Bacalso Ave. remains open for motor vehicles during the solemn foot procession and the Cebu South Bus Terminal remains open and operational during the Sinulog weekend.
“This critical artery plays a vital role in Cebu’s traffic flow, and readily available alternative routes raise questions about the necessity of such a disruption… Furthermore, closing Natalio Bacalso Avenue would cripple operations at the Cebu South Bus Terminal, directly impacting thousands of Cebuanos who rely on this transportation hub,” reads a portion of the memo released by Garcia on Friday.