Battle with Cebu City mayor over mega infra flares up anew
Sparks flew yesterday when former congressman Raul del Mar yesterday lobbied in the Cebu City Development Council (CCDC) to revive support for two flyover projects worth P430 million that were deleted from its priority list.
He didn’t get it – for now.
The meeting adjourned after a heated word war with flyover critic Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who presided over the meeting.
“Ayaw ipamugos. Wala man tay ma abtan aning storyaha,” warned Rama, who tangled with del Mar on procedures since the issue was not on the official agenda. (Don’t force it. We won’t get anywwhere with this kind of talk.)
Del Mar said the flyovers could still be funded directly through Congress even without the CDCCs blessing but that “we wanted to follow procedures that is why we are fighting it out.”
Del Mar, who is eyeing a comeback in Congress in the 2013 election, urged the council to reconsider its June 15 resolution withholding endorsement for two new flyovers.
The pet projects, which met strong opposition last year, have earned del Mar and his daughter Rep. Cutie del Mar, the ire of heritage and environment advocates, as well as urban planners, who insist that new massive concrete flyovers don’t belong in the “core” of Cebu City and would only build up car traffic.
One is proposed near the Mabolo church along M.J. Cuenco Avenue and another is a short distance from the Carmelite Monastery entering F. Cabahug Street, the access road to Ayala’s Cebu Business Park.
Both flyovers would cross busy intersections of Juan Luna Avenue formerly called San Jose del Montana, and are lined up for the 2013 Infrastructure Program of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Cebu Daily News reported in March 17 that the two flyovers were rejected by the Regional Development Council – Infrastrcuture and Development Committee because they lacked the endorsement of the Cebu City Development Council.
Del Mar was persistent yesterday.
He stayed past 1 p.m. to press his case after his appeal was first waved off as being out of the agenda.
Del Mar said there was a new resolution of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) signed by 49 of Cebu City’s 80 barangay captains seeking to withdraw the CCDC’s June 15 resolution.
He said the flyovers are badly needed to ease traffic in the two interesections.
“A flyover is just one of the solutions to lessen traffic. Other solutions include having an MRT, skywalk and even efficient traffic management,” he said.
The flyovers that del Mar lobbied for yesterday are different from the original two flyovers in Gorordo Avenue near the Asilo dela Milagrosa and another along M.J. Cuenco – General Maxilom Avenue that inflamed private citizens in 2011 to form the Stop Cebu Flyover Movement, prompting the DPWH to suspend all flyover construction in Cebu in October 2011 pending further study.
CDN reported about the two new flyovers in its March 17 issue as being listed by DPWH under “National Arterial and Secondary Roads and Bridges” aimed “to address traffic congestion”.
The total cost was P859,741,000, which includes improvement of the road to Salinas Drive and road widening and concreting in Talamban Road.
Each flyover would be 400 meters long. One flyover worth P230 million is for the juncture of MJ Cuenco Avenue and Juan Luna Avenue near the St. Joseph the Patriarch parish church of Mabolo.
The other one in the junction of Juan Luna Avenue and Cardinal Rosales Avenue-F. Cabahug Street (the access road to Ayala) would be worth P200 million.
Yesterday’s CDCC meeting saw the flyover debate flare up again after months of silence, this time with personal jabs.
At one point, the mayor told del Mar that he was acting as if he weren’t a congressman.
Del Mar retorted that Rama was also behaving as if he were not city mayor.
As members watched the tension crackle, the mayor stood up from his seat in front of the council to approach del Mar seated at the end of the social hall.
“Ayaw ipamugos. Wala man tay ma abtan aning storyaha,” Rama warned. The mayor said the CDCC would not follow the “dictates” of the former congressman.
Del Mar tried to move for a vote but Busay barangay captain Eleodoro Sanchez, an ally of the mayor, moved to adjourn.
The meeting started at 9 a.m. with 100 CCDC members at City Hall’s legislative building social hall.
Del Mar said he was there to represent his daughter Cutie, the congresswoman.
When the minutes of the council’s June 15 meeting were read, del Mar asked to seek reconsideration and to withdraw the CCDC resolution passed during their previous meeting which deleted the two flyover projects from the list of projects endorsed to the Regional Development Council.
Mayor Rama said it would set a “bad precedent” to take up a matter not on the ofifical agenda and that a motion for reconsideration should have been taken up on the same day the June 15 resolution was passed.
A persistent del Mar stayed till 1 p.m., waiting till the agenda items were taken up and “other matters” came up.
During the lunch break, Rama huddled with his co-chairs which included city planning officer Alipio Bacalso, councilor Jose Daluz III and NGO representative Catherine Ruiz.
When the meeting resumed, the mayor asked what items were left to discuss.
“In the City Council, it’s very clear that we only discuss matters of life and death and of primordial concern,” he said.
Daluz said the CCDC had no House Rules that state what falls under “other matters” but invoked the Robert’s Rules of Order that say it should be a new matter which has not been discussed before.
With that, he moved to adjourn. Del Mar stood up to object, saying this was a “maneuver” to shut off discussion.
He said his daugther Cutie missed the June 15 CCDC meeting because she was out of town and got a call a day before informing her of the meeting.
Del Mar, in a separate interview, said there was prior RDC approval already for the Mabolo flyover in RDC full council resolutions passed in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 ‘but subject to further discussions and consultations.”
The Juan Luna-F. Cabahug flyover was also approved by the RDC in resolutions in 2005, 2008 and 2009.
Cahty Ruiz the NGO representative told del Mar that the two flyovers were already thoroughly discussed last June 15 where 101 of its 140 members were present, including 61 barangay captains and 36 NGO and PO reps.
Del Mar called for a vote on his objection to adjourn the meeting. Daluz, however, advised him to defer his concern till the next CDCC meeting.
Banking on that assurance, del agreed: “For everybody’s convenience let adjourn.”
No date has been set yet for the next CCDC meeting. /Chief of Reporters Doris Bongcac