Rama: Demolish all Cebu City skywalks

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

AFTER the demolition of two skywalks along Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has announced plans to remove all the 10 remaining skywalks in the city.

Over Cebu City Hall’s online program “Ingna’ng Mayor” on Thursday, March 14, 2024, Rama said the skywalks have not served their purpose and have instead become an interim drop-in center for some mendicants.

He said the skywalks have become public comfort rooms, living rooms and living quarters.

Rama said the skywalk in Barangay Day-as has one end connected to a sidewalk. In Barangay Banilad, one side of the skywalk ends on a sidewalk, while the other end leads to a jeepney parking lot. Additionally, some skywalks have one end connected to a sidewalk and the other end leading to establishments.

He also noted that the skywalk on Escario St. is obstructing the sidewalk.

He said skywalks should not obstruct the sidewalk or the roads.

He said as a result of these issues, people no longer use the skywalks.

He explained that skywalks would only be effective if equipped with elevators and escalators, but he also emphasized that the city no longer requires such structures.


During the program, SunStar Cebu asked Rama what would replace the skywalks, particularly for the benefit of students.

The mayor suggested that tunnels (underpasses or underground pedestrian crossings) would be more effective, allowing people to cross streets underground, similar to practices observed in other countries.

He said there are no skywalks in Melbourne, Australia and other countries.

Rama said when he was in Boston in the United States, he was told to expose the sky, not create obstructions, referring to skywalks as obstructions.

He said an underground crossing for pedestrians already exists in Quiapo district in Manila.


In a chat message on Thursday, urban planner and engineer Nigel Paul Villarete acknowledged the usefulness of both overpasses and underpasses, yet he urged the City to do a realistic assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of each structure.

“Some (areas) may be served by skywalks better. Others might do well with underpasses. But full technical and economic assessments should be done for each location,” Villarete said.

He said underpasses might be preferable because they would not obstruct views and would not impede large vehicles traveling through the city. However, he acknowledged that they might be susceptible to flooding.

Asked for the target completion date for the removal of all skywalks, Rama told SunStar Cebu in a follow-up phone interview Thursday not to worry about it, saying they had already removed at least two skywalks along Osmeña Blvd.

Rama said he will meet with the Office of the Building Official, the City Engineering Office, and the City Planning and Development Office to discuss the matter.

The two skywalks along Osmeña Blvd., one near Fuente Osmeña Circle and the other near Cebu Normal University, were removed last Feb. 18 and Feb. 25, respectively, as they were in the way of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) construction.

The main slabs of the two skywalks were stored in the city’s engineering office junkyard in the South Road Properties, awaiting evaluation to determine their viability and structural integrity for potential repurposing.

It cost over P9 million to build these two skywalks 30 years ago.

Five affected

Also on Thursday, Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, said they had identified at least five skywalks to be affected by the construction of the CBRT system.

In the south district, these are the skywalks in Barangay Pardo in front of the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish, the near the University of San Jose-Recoletos, and the one near Cebu Institute of Technology-University.

In the north district, there are the skywalks in Barangay Kamputhaw (the one on Escario St.) and in Barangay Banilad.

As for the five other skywalks in the city, two are situated downtown—one in Barangay Day-as going to Imus St., and another on Sanciangko St.

There are also skywalks along V. Rama Ave., near Fuente Circle along Gen. Maxilom Ave., as well as near the Lahug Barangay Hall.

Recover land

Guardo added that, aside from removing the skywalks, they also need to recover at least three meters on each side to create an additional lane in the south.

Guardo explained that the skywalks in the south also occupy the sidewalks, which they need to reclaim.

On the timeline, Guardo said there is no specific time frame yet as the removal would align with the progress of the CBRT project.

He said the removal of the skywalks will undergo the same process as that of the first two removed earlier, in which the Department of Transportation will request the Office of the Mayor and the City Council for the removal and recovery of the sidewalks.

For the skywalks, clearance is also needed from the Commission on Audit since these are all government property, according to Guardo.

When asked if they had already identified the owners of these skywalks, Guardo said all the skywalks were built using congressional funds, so they belonged to the respective districts that funded them.


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