More consultations will be done, Raul del Mar assures Kasambagan flyover critics

Posted on November 12, 2012

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Raul del Mar, who’s gunning for reelection in Congress, is a patient man when it comes to his stalled flyover projects in Cebu City.

He said he could “wait” for flyovers to be built after the May 2013 elections.

“We are just waiting for DPWH (the Department of Public Works and Highways) to implement it. If they do it now or after the 2013 election, it doesn’t matter, as long as it gets done,” he told Cebu Daily News.

Each flyover would cost about P200 million.

Last Saturday, several business owners and residents in barangay Kasambagan protested the revival of plans to build a flyover in the intersection of F. Cabahug Street and Juan Luna Avenue where the Carmelite monastery is located.

They said a massive concrete overpass would be “ineffective” in easing traffic, spoil the vista of neighborhoods and reduce customer traffic to businesses there, aside from cause “urban blight”.

Del Mar said complaining residents shouldn’t worry because “more consultations will be made” before it is built.

He denied that residents weren’t asked about it before.

Del Mar said consultations were made when he first proposed a flyover near the Carmelite monastery in 2006.

(That particular flyover was scrapped after strong objections from Carmelite nuns reached the Office of the President. National funding was then shifted to build the flyover near the Banilad Town Center in 2007.)

Fighting mode

Del Mar, who envisions a “network” of seven flyovers in the north district, said a flyover project for Juan Luna Avenue near the Carmelite monastery was already approved by the Regional Development Council in resolutions issued in 2005, 2008 and 2009.

Of del Mar’s seven planned flyovers, three have been built so far.

They stand on Archbishop Reyes Avenue near the Cebu Business Park, along Governor Cuenco Avenue near Tesda and near the Banilad Town Center.

Four more are proposed.

DPWH funding of P300 million each was already alocated for one flyover near the Asilo dela Milagrosa Church on Gorordo Avenue and another near Carreta cemetery on M.J. Cuenco corner General Maxilom Avenue.

Two other flyovers in Mabolo still need a government appropriation. One may rise near the Mabolo parish church along M.J. Cuenco Avenue.

The second, which has Kasambagan businessmen and several residents in fighting mode, is proposed along F. Cabahug Street and the access road leading to Ayala Center. This site is next to the Pope John Paul seminary.

The DPWH already suspended plans for the Asilo church flyover on Gorordo Avenue as “not feasible.”

The suspension came following heated objections raised by the nuns and concerned citizens who formed the Movement for a Livable Cebu last year.

The Carreta flyover on M.J. Cuenco Avenue is also frozen because of a DPWH moratorium on all flyovers declared by Secretary Rogelio Singson in October last year.

However, critics fear it’s just a matter of time before the order is lifted because of the influence of del Mar and allies like Rep. Tomas Osmeña who want the overpasses to rise.

Del Mar is also fighting to get the Cebu City Development Council (CCDC) led by Mayor Michael Rama to reconsider its earlier decision to delete the two Mabolo flyovers from the list of projects endorsed to the RDC of Central Visayas.

The endorsements of both the CCDC and RDC are needed for an infrastructure project to get national funding.

Sparks flew in the last CDCC meeting in Oct. 15, when del Mar argued to revive support for the two flyovers worth P430 million.

Mayor Rama refused to take it up, saying the matter was not on the agenda.

Del Mar said he would bring it up again in the next CDCC meeting in December. /Doris Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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