Instead of flyovers, Cebu City officials and businessmen opposed to the projects appealed anew to rechannel the funds to other projects instead.
Sylvan Jakosalem, chairman of the Cebu City Integrated Traffic Operations Management (Citom), said the government should use the funds to build either a drainage system or a Metro Cebu-wide computerized traffic network.
“The mayor and even the council may ask the national government or president to realign the funds. No harm in trying,” he said.
Jakosalem, who said road widening is the better option in order to accommodate more vehicles, said Cebu City shouldn’t be like Manila, which has many flyovers but was unable to resolve its flooding problems.
He said if there will be a flyover, the M.J. Cuenco-General Maxilom Avenue area is more acceptable compared to Gorordo Avenue especially if the M.J. Cuenco area is widened.
Businessman Bunny Pages said the suspension of the two flyover projects gives time for both the government and the private sector to raise P30 million for a traffic master plan.
“This is just a small amount for the future of Cebu,” he told Cebu Daily News.
Pages said businessman Bobby Aboitiz told him about the need to search for experts who can work on Cebu’s traffic master plan. A master plan could be done in one year, he said.
Public Works and Highways undersecretary Romeo Momo issued an Oct. 7 memo that ordered a suspension in the flyover projects unless the concerns raised by stakeholders are addressed.
A public hearing on the two projects is tentatively scheduled on Oct. 28.
Reps. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar and Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s north and south districts, respectively, signified their interest to attend the public hearing in support of the projects.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who opposed the projects, said it’s better that experts and not public officials should attend the hearing.
Pages confirmed that he showed a copy of the DPWH memo to former congressman Raul del Mar and tried to convince him to reconsider his support last week.
Pages said the business sector is pushing to update the Metro Cebu Land Use and Transport Study (Mcluts) that was good only until 2000.
“I think the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) can fund the master plan because nobody is objecting to it,” Pages said.
Even some residents in Gorordo expressed reservations to the flyover project.
Fifty-year-old Mercedes Perpetua, who owns a restaurant across the Asilo dela Milagrosa church, said they have nowhere to go once their house is demolished to make way for the flyover.
Perpetua’s house is located in a government-owned lot in the area.
Rep. Del Mar earlier asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-7) to spare the Asilo church due to its cultural significance.
Perpetua said they’ve been staying in the spot across the church for 15 years selling food.
Another resident, a beauty parlor manager named Loisan Zamora, said officials should dialogue with the affected residents first before deciding on implementing the flyover project.
Though the government promised to provide financial compensation for their lot, Zamora said they would rather stay in the area. /By Doris C. Bongcac, Marian Z. Codilla and Candeze R. Mongaya