CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. (Photo from Cebu City PIO)

Rama declines to talk with Capitol over CBRT

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has refused to sit down with the Provincial Government to address issues surrounding the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project, reiterating his desire to file charges against officials who called for the project’s halt, especially Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

“No. I don’t want to sit down with them. Why will I have to sit down? They should know where they are; that’s a matter of territory,” Rama said in an interview on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Rama’s response followed a resolution urging both Mayor Rama and Governor Garcia to meet and resolve the CBRT project issue through a dialogue. The resolution, authored by City Councilor Nestor Archival, was adopted during the council’s regular session last Wednesday, March 6.

Archival’s resolution was amended to include the Provincial Board and the City Council in the dialogue. The amendment was proposed by City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco.

To recall, Gov. Garcia issued Memorandum 16-2024 on Feb. 27, ordering the cessation of construction of bus stations along Osmeña Blvd.

A day after, during the council’s regular session on Feb. 28, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia (VM Garcia) delivered a privilege speech addressing heritage protection concerns and the visual impact of the CBRT project on the Capitol building, which has been declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

VM Garcia then urged the Office of the Building Official to issue a cease and desist order against the construction of the CBRT bus station.

Declining to have a dialogue, Rama said he would proceed with filing charges against those who want to stop the CBRT project, especially Governor Garcia.

“I am going now into connecting with my lawyers because I am very, very serious in filing cases even against the governor,” Rama said.

When asked on what grounds the City would be filling the case, Rama said he would let the city lawyers prepare it.

SunStar Cebu tried to obtain information from City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena, but he said he could not divulge anything about it at the moment.

When asked whether the construction of the CBRT bus station near the Capitol had been halted, Rama said he lacks information on the project’s current status.

However, he said the station should be redesigned.

“It can be redesigned...before the station, there was an island, but there was no complaint about it...they will do it in (such a) way that it will not cover the Capitol,” Rama said.

Rama earlier this year ordered the demolition of the center island on Osmeña Blvd. for the foot processions during the 2024 Fiesta Señor in January.

The civil works for the CBRT’s first package is ongoing, and while the project traverses Talisay City and other towns of Cebu Province, most of its components are located in Cebu City.

Meanwhile, regarding his desire to remove CBRT project manager Norvin Imbong, Rama said he had already talked with Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista twice.

Rama added that he also does not want to be in a dialogue with Imbong around. Rama, earlier, called for the ouster of Imbong due to alleged mismanagement of the CBRT project. / AML

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