Del Mar, DPWH defend MJ Cuenco road wideningBy Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
HOUSE owners and Raul del Mar yesterday exchanged mixed views in a dialog over the proposed roadwidening of MJ Cuenco Avenue in barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
A property owner said it’s easier and less expensive to discipline motorists and pedestrians than widen a portion of M.J. Cuenco Avenue .
Pushing for the road widening, former north district congressman Raul del Mar and officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Cebu City office insist this was critical in easing traffic in the area.
Critics said plans to expand the road are part of efforts to build a P300 million flyover there.
DPWH officials will meet with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines later in Manila to discuss how to deal with two century-old houses which the commission said had heritage value.
Alaine Po, whose ancestral home will be affected by the road-widening, said he remains unconvinced that the road-widening is needed.
He said it was a waste of time and money.
“It is easier if we just discipline everybody. Before we should aim for a smooth flow of traffic, it is better to discipline (the motorists first),” Po said during the consultation held at the Mabolo sports center.
The dialogue was the fourth one del Mar called in the last three months to discuss the project.
Po said that while a skywalk is found in front of the Mabolo church, people would still cross the streets and interrupt traffic flow in the area.
A jeepney driver who makes a sudden stop will stall other drivers behind him, he added.
But Del Mar told Po that road widening project “is the call of the times” and even Mayor Michael Rama is asking for this.
Road widening, del Mar said, was already done along Escario Street, Banilad Road and M. Velez Street to improve traffic flow there.
Mabolo barangay captain Rey Ompoc said the barangay council passed a resolution about 10 years ago asking for the widening of a portion of M. J. Cuenco Avenue.
Del Mar said the road widening project has nothing to do with the flyover project being proposed along General Maxilom and M. J. Cuenco Avenues.
Engr. Nicomedes Leonor, head of the DPWH’s Cebu City Engineering district, said a national road like like M. J. Cuenco Avenue is supposed to be a four-lane road with a standard 20 meter width.
However, the portion of M. J. Cuenco Avenue located in barangay Mabolo is only a two-lane road.
But property owner Lucita Tan, owner of the Caminade Pet Shop, said 3.2 to 3.5 meters will be taken from their property by the road widening.
Another home owner, Amparo Urot, said about 5.36 meters or half of their ancestral house built in 1910 will be cut during the project implementation.
Urot is daughter of former barangay councilor Pensot Urot, an ally of former mayor Serging Osmena Jr.
Del Mar said more consultations will be held in the next days in order to satisfy the concerns of property owners.
Leonor said they already sought permission from their DPWH-7 Director Ador Canlas to reduce to 18 meters the side of the widening project in barangay Mabolo to minimize the effect on the structures.
The sidewalk size will be reduced from the standard 2.5 meters to only 1.5 meters, he added.
Del Mar, who represents his daughter Rep. Rachel del Mar of Cebu City’s north district, said he will ask DPWH not to touch the homes.
A petition to declare the houses as a historical landmark is pending at the NHCP.
The DPWH earlier proposed an arcaded sidewalk for the site in which a portion of the ground floor of these homes will be cut for use as sidewalk.
Engr. Lea Legre of the DPWH Planning and Design Division said a detailed map of the project focusing on the affected ancestral houses will be used during the meeting between their central office and the commission.
The two identified ancestral houses in the area originally belonged to Dominga Querubin and Nasersas Macasero.
The two-story Chinese-inspired Querubin house was said to be built in 1890. The Macasero house was said to be used as a World War II hospital and school building during the liberation. With Correspondent Jessa Chrisna Marie J. Agua