■ OSMEÑA WON’T OP­POSE LRT, BUT SAYS BRT MUST PRO­CEED

Sun.Star Cebu - - TOP STORIES - RAZEL V. CUIZON / Re­porter @razel­cuizon

Al­though he will not op­pose the pro­posed first Light Rail Tran­sit (LRT) project for Metro Cebu, Cebu City Mayor To­mas Osmeña said that the Bus Rapid Tran­sit (BRT) project will push through.

“I will not ex­change the BRT for a pie in the sky. They have to get ap­proval of ev­ery­body, in­clud­ing Cebu City, but I will not block it. All I’m say­ing is that I will not with­draw the BRT. I don’t see any rea­son un­til it’s very clear to all of us that this is a vi­able al­ter­na­tive,” the mayor said. He also pointed out that the BRT is cov­ered by a bi­lat­eral agree­ment with the World Bank for fund­ing.

A press re­lease dis­trib­uted dur­ing the week­end by the Of­fice of the Pres­i­den­tial As­sis­tant for the Visayas said that a con­sor­tium of lo­cal and for­eign com­pa­nies is work­ing with the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) for the con­struc­tion of an LRT for Metro Cebu. This will re­port­edly in­clude a sub­way, an el­e­vated por­tion, and a bridge be­tween main­land Cebu and Mac­tan Is­land for its air­port line.

Al­though he will not op­pose the pro­posed first Light Rail Tran­sit (LRT) project for Metro Cebu, Cebu City Mayor To­mas Osmeña ex­pressed his reser­va­tions, say­ing it’s a means to can­cel the Cebu Bus Rapid Tran­sit (BRT) project.

“It’s my duty to lis­ten to ev­ery­thing but let me tell you my ob­ser­va­tions. I think they’re just look­ing for an ex­cuse to can­cel the BRT. I will not al­low that to hap­pen,” Osmeña said.

In his news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Osmeña said that those be­hind the LRT project should present all the ap­provals, in­clud­ing one from the Toll Reg­u­la­tory Board, to de­ter­mine if it’s for the “poor or rich.”

The align­ment of the LRT project should also be deter­mined, the mayor said.

“There are so many unan­swered points be­cause I don’t be­lieve them when they say we will have an LRT next year. How do you sur­vey all the lots that will be af­fected? How do you ne­go­ti­ate with the in­di­vid­ual land own­ers? And this one is much worse be­cause they’ll do it up to Car­car and they’ll do it in one year? Of course not, but maybe they’re Su­per­man,” he said.

Ready fund­ing

Mean­while, Osmeña said the City will have to push through with the BRT project be­cause the Philip­pine Gov­ern­ment is un­der a bi­lat­eral agree­ment with the World Bank for its fund­ing.

“I will not ex­change the BRT for a pie in the sky. They have to get ap­proval of ev­ery­body, in­clud­ing Cebu City, but I will not block it. All I’m say­ing is that I will not with­draw the BRT. I don’t see any rea­son un­til it’s very clear to all of us that this is a vi­able al­ter­na­tive,” he said.

A press re­lease dis­trib­uted by the Of­fice of the Pres­i­den­tial As­sis­tant of the Visayas has an­nounced that a con­sor­tium of lo­cal and for­eign com­pa­nies is work­ing closely with the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) for the con­struc­tion of an LRT for Metro Cebu.

Chris Kou, the con­sor­tium’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive and project de­vel­oper, said that a pro­po­nent led by Tjen Hian Ka, the con­sor­tium’s se­nior con­sul­tant, started the process with the DOTr in the last quar­ter of 2017.

The con­sor­tium ex­pects to com­plete the process with the DOTr this year.

The first phase of the LRT project will be con­structed in the short­est pos­si­ble time, with all site works tar­geted for com­ple­tion by 2022, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

Osmeña said even if a con­sor­tium was al­ready formed, a se­ries of ap­provals is still needed.

I will not ex­change the BRT for a pie in the sky. They have to get ap­proval of ev­ery­body, in­clud­ing Cebu City, but I will not block it. All I’m say­ing is that I will not with­draw the BRT. I don’t see any rea­son un­til it’s very clear that this is a vi­able aler­na­tive. TO­MAS OSMEÑA

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