Wenceslao: Road projects and growth

Candid Thoughts

The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project has apparently reached a crucial stage with Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) coming up with inputs that they want to prevail as the implementation of the project moves forward. I understand that Rama and the DOTr know the project better than the others, having been there since its conception years ago.

Despite the concerns and the worries, I actually am among the many who want the project completed. Any project that potentially will help ease the problematic Cebu traffic is good. In this sense, I support the ideas of having an underground train network for Metro Cebu and a mountain road from Carcar to Danao City. It’s like when former Cebu governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña pushed for the construction of the Cebu Transcentral Highway. There were many opposing voices, including those that insinuated that Lito had a personal stake in the project, but look at how the highway, despite its limitations, is serving people living in Balamban and its environs now.

With new routes comes growth. That was what the late former vice governor Gregorio Sanchez was preaching when he proposed the Cebu Trans-axial Highway years ago. The Cebu Transcentral Highway changed the look of the island’s central mountain range. In Sanchez’s mind, the trans-axial road will do the same to Cebu’s entire mountain ranges. That is why I support the new road that is currently being constructed in Cebu’s mountains.

Those mountain ranges are partly visible from the Cebu South Coastal Road and the old coastal highways of Cebu. When I viewed the Talisay mountains from the Mananga Bridge recently, I was in awe at how much the landscape has changed. Housing projects have filled the once barren sides and shoulders of the mountains. Those Talisay mountains are connected to the Cebu City mountain ranges by footpaths carved by mountain residents of old. Imagine adding a highway to that connection and how much such a connection would change the landscape.

History tells us about the importance of the Cebu mountain ranges to our lives. The books “Tabunan” and “Koga Papers” written by the late World War II veteran Manuel F. Segura tells of how the Cebu guerillas moved using the trails and footpaths carved by the farmers as they struggled to make the Cebu mountains productive. Imagine capturing Japanese soldiers and documents in San Fernando town and bringing them to the guerilla base in Barangay Tabunan in Cebu City. The walk must have taken several days and nights on treacherous terrain.

I therefore would like to see our local government officials unite so we can have more road projects for the island. Cebu is growing economically and constructing more roads will surely pump-prime that growth. Luzon and Mindanao already have, in the past, snagged major road projects. It is time for Cebu to snag those projects and funding, especially now that tourism activities are back in full swing everywhere.


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