To­mas un­moved by Dino’s crit­i­cisms vs BRT

The Freeman - - NEWS - — Jean Marvette A. De­me­cillo/KBQ

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.

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