Cebu mayors league wants BRT project halted

Cebu mayors league wants BRT project halted

By: - Reporter / @nestleCDN
/ 05:12 PM March 14, 2024

Cebu mayors league wants BRT project halted

Map of Cebu. FILES

CEBU CITY — Now, it is the turn of municipal mayors in Cebu to call for the stoppage of the construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) near province-owned lots along Osmeña Boulevard in this city.

The sentiments of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter were contained in a resolution issued on Feb. 28 but was only recently released to the media.


Incidentally, the resolution was passed a day after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued a memorandum addressed to Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd. and the Department of Transportation to stop any civil works particular in the areas near Fuente Osmeña and the Capitol.


READ: Capitol still wants Cebu BRT construction stopped

The Cebu Provincial Board also passed a separate resolution on March 4, seeking the same call.

Both resolutions cited the worsening traffic congestion as the reason why the project near the Capitol should be stopped.

“The BRT project, which has been implemented in Cebu City, has caused unimaginable agony in the lives of the Cebuanos,” said Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, president of LMP Cebu, in the resolution.

Shimura, an ally of the governor, said government leaders behind the project should listen and be keen on the needs of people affected by the project.

“We recognize the fact that the project is within the territorial jurisdiction of Cebu City, however, we can never also deny the fact that Cebu City is not just the image and representation of the whole island or the province of Cebu in which the latter is more expansive in terms of services,” he added.


Board Member Glenn Soco, another Garcia ally and one of the authors of the PB resolution on BRT, questioned the BRT project’s feasibility because of the proponent’s failure to reveal details regarding the operation, including the type of buses to use, the operator, and the potential fare.

Soco said in a privilege speech that they received “countless” complaints about the project, which affected the livelihood of commuters and motorists because of the traffic.

“How much more economic losses do we have to suffer and endure? How many more canceled meetings, late mornings coming in to work and even our school children are greatly affected by the inconvenience? Thousands and even millions of pesos were lost in logistical and transportation expenses, and this is greatly felt by our business people,” he said.

The Cebu BRT is a $228.5-million project funded by the World Bank. It is considered one of the government’s flagship infrastructure projects aimed at providing a more efficient, reliable, comfortable, and safer public transportation for the Cebuanos.

It is modeled after other BRT systems in Seoul in South Korea and Guangzhou in China, among others, and is expected to be partially operational in the fourth quarter of 2024 and fully operational in the second quarter of 2025.

The first of its kind in the country, the BRT project involves a 13.8-km segregated lane with 17 bus stations, a depot, and a trunk terminal that is expected to cater to more than 160,000 passengers daily.

But Garcia wanted the BRT section near Fuente Osmeña and the Capitol stopped because the construction had encroached on buffer zones around two landmarks, potentially violating laws protecting heritage properties, including the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

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Garcia claimed that the Cebu BRT project proponents did not obtain clearance from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to proceed with civil works within the specified buffer zones.


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