Tomas unmoved by Dino’s criticisms vs BRT
Despite moves to cancel the Bus Rapid Transit project, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said the city government will continue implementing the BRT.
The mayor made the statement after Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino said he will continue lobbying for BRT’s cancellation.
Dino said the project should be cancelled considering that Osmeña, who is the main proponent of the project, is “confused” on the system.
The mayor wants to further review the project’s road-sharing system, particularly on the Banilad-Talamban (Ban-Tal) corridor. At the Ban-Tal corridor, Osmeña wants to provide dedicated lanes for the BRT and not a mixeduse scheme wherein the BRT units and private vehicles would share lanes.
Osmeña clarified that he is not confused on the BRT system, explaining that he was not the mayor when the Ban-Tal road-sharing scheme was approved.
“He’s (Dino) entitled to make fool of himself. To me, it’s a low-level threat,” he said.
Moreover, Osmeña said he received a communication from Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) about the fate of the project.
“The implication here is that Pernia is trying to save himself from being made into a fool when he told the people, when he told you the media, he holds it back. He can’t. That’s why he says here it’s collegial effort in the NEDA board,” the mayor said.
In a letter dated September 7 addressed to Osmeña, Pernia informed the mayor that the Office of the Presidential for the Visayas (OPAV) is proposing an alternative mass transport system, other than the BRT. Pernia said the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CC) will consider the proposal of OPAV Head Dino if the light rail transit-Subway project will be submitted by the Department of Transportation for the committee’s consideration.
“On the alternative proposal of the Presidential Assistant for Visayas, such has yet to be submitted and undergo the ICC process. In addition, the Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning alone cannot put the Cebu BRT on hold or scrapped in favor of the Cebu LRTSubway project since all decision on major capital projects go through collegial discussions of the ICC and the NEDA Board to reach a collective and optimal decision,” reads part of Pernia’s letter.
Osmeña said the study for the LRT project has not been submitted yet. He said Dino should finish his project and stop intervening in the implementation of the BRT project.
Osmeña challenged Dino to publicize the LRT feasibility study (FS) before “destroying” BRT.
“He (Dino) announces he has a supplier in Singapore which means there’s a winner already, imagine it’s not even studied yet he has already winning bidder. The BRT still has to be bidded out, there’s no supplier yet,” he said.
Sought for comment, Dino said a private sector is doing the FS which will soon be submitted to DOTr. He said he has no right to release it since it is funded by a private sector.
“It’s done by a private sector. When they submit it to DOTr, which is soon, then let them be the one to show it to the public,” he said.
Dino said the BRT project is “still not a go” even with the approval of additional budget for the BRT by the NEDA Board.