Flyover projects shouldn’t block key historical sites in Cebu City or elsewhere in Cebu province, a former archbishop and a civil society group said in separate interviews yesterday.
Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said flyover projects should be “reconsidered” if it would affect heritage sites while the Movement for a Liveable Cebu (MLC) emphasized that public consultation should be made first.
MLC convenor Joel Lee and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should sit down with stakeholders before pursuing flyovers or other projects in the city.
“The quality of life (must be considered above all). We are at a crossroads. We are not against the flyovers, but we need a comprehensive traffic plan,” Lee said during yesterday’s 888 News Forum.
Lee said DPWH officials were invited during their meetings and some of them had in fact attended.
“It seems that they’re starting to listen. All they need to do is to open up,” he said.
Lee said road improvements such as clearing sidewalks should also be considered in drafting a master plan for the city.
Without consultations and planning, Lee said a project such as a flyover may disrupt or affect another.
Mayor Rama said the DPWH should follow the law and consult affected residents before implementing flyovers and road-widening projects.
“What DPWH should do is to sit down with us. A congressman is supposed to make laws and yet he’s involved in projects,” Rama said referring to Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district and Rep. Cutie del Mar of the north district.
“There’s a need to coordinate between the City Council, the congressman, DPWH and the stakeholders concerned and not just the flyovers but the road-widening, traffic master plan and the drainage systems,” Rama said.
The mayor said the city needs billions of pesos for the drainage project, a ten-year long-term development.
In a press conference at his Guadalupe home, Osmeña said he was the one who pushed for a new flyover at the Gorordo Avenue-Doña Modesta junction between the Mormon temple and JY Square in Lahug.
Osmeña said the proposed flyover would connect to an access road he wants to open from the Guadalupe bridge in the south district to the Ecotech Center in Sudlon.
The road would serve as a parallel and alternative road to the already congested Escario Street.
Osmeña said both projects can still get funding from the national government without endorsement from the City Development Council.
He said there is “no law” requiring prior approval of the CDC or Regional Development Council (RDC)” before a request for funding is made. /Jessa Crisna Marie J. Agua and Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondents