Cebu Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Morex­ette Marie B. Er­ram RE­PORTER

By 2020, both the Bus Rapid Tran­sit (BRT) and the Light Rail Tran­sit (LRT) com­po­nents of the Metro Cebu In­te­grated and In­ter­modal Trans- por­ta­tion Sys­tem (MCIITS) will be op­er­a­tional to ad­dress the wors­en­ing traf­fic con­di­tion in Metro Cebu.

The Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) an­nounced this devel­op­ment on its of­fi­cial Face­book page last Fri­day, De­cem­ber 7. In the post’s cap­tion, DOTr said the agency and other gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were con­duct­ing a meeting on that day with the tech­ni­cal ser­vice con­sul­tant (TSC) hired to im­ple­ment the BRT and LRT com­po­nents of MCIITS.

It was at­tended by Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Arthur Tu­gade and Pres­i­den­tial As­sis­tant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino.

“It was agreed upon dur­ing the meeting that Phase 1 of CBRT (Cebu BRT) and CLRT (Cebu LRT), in­clud­ing its com­mon sta­tion, be op­er­a­tional by 2020,” DOTr said.

Phase 1 of the BRT will cover the ar­eas from the South Road Prop­er­ties (SRP) up to Barangay Capi­tol Site in up­town Cebu City.

In a fol­low-up message sent to CEBU DAILY NEWS,

DOTr Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor God­dess Hope Libi­ran said their agency is aim­ing to start the civil works of the MCIITS next year, 2019.

“The BRT is still in De­tailed En­gi­neer­ing De­sign Stage, while the LRT is in pro­posal eval­u­a­tion stage. Hop­ing we can start con­struc­tion in 2019,” Libi­ran said.

Last Novem­ber, DOTr Un­der­sec­re­tary Mark Rich­mund De Leon, the depart­ment’s as­sis­tant sec­re­tary for road trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture, as­sured Ce­buanos that the BRT will be a go, with its de­sign be­ing re­viewed in or­der to in­cor­po­rate in it the other modes of trans­porta­tion that were be­ing de­vel­oped un­der MCIITS.

He also said they were plan­ning to im­ple­ment the BRT in wider road net­works in Cebu City.

De Leon was in Cebu on Novem­ber 26 as guest for the launch­ing of Cebu City’s first set of mod­ern­ized pub­lic util­ity ve­hi­cles (PUVs) called Beeps.

BRT, which is funded by the World Bank and the Agence Française de Devel­oppe­ment (AFD), the in­ter­na­tional lend­ing arm of the French gov­ern­ment for devel­op­ment projects, has al­ready suf­fered mul­ti­ple de­lays.

It was one of the projects un­der­taken by DOTr that was flagged by the Com­mis­sion on Au­dit (COA) due to un­der­uti­lized funds, and mount­ing com­mit­ment fees that have so far reached P14 mil­lion.

The P17-bil­lion BRT project was sup­posed to be im­ple­mented in 2014 and com­pleted by 2016.

MCIITS com­po­nents

Aside from the BRT and LRT com­po­nents, the MCIITS will also be in­tro­duc­ing a mono­rail, a pointto-point (P2P) bus sys­tem, and an in­tel­li­gent trans­porta­tion man­age­ment sys­tem.

The mono­rail sys­tem will be serv­ing com­muters in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Is­land, con­nect­ing the Mactan-Cebu In­ter­na­tional Air­port (MCIA) to the dif­fer­ent ho­tels and re­sorts on the is­land.

On the other hand, the LRT sys­tem, which is a ma­jor com­po­nent of the IITS, will tra­verse from Car­car City in south­ern Cebu to Danao City in the north.

Ac­cord­ing to a Face­book post from the Of­fice of the Pres­i­den­tial As­sis­tant for the Visayas (OPAV), the LRT will serve as the “back­bone” of the MCIITS with the bus sys­tems to com­ple­ment it.

“LRT will be the back­bone of an in­te­grated in­ter­modal trans­port sys­tem. The first phase of the project will have an LRT and a high pri­or­ity bus sys­tem that will act as a feeder line to the LRT. It will also in­clude a com­mon sta­tion,” OPAV said.

The MCIITS was put to­gether in line with DOTr’s prom­ise to pro­vide a “Bas­ket of So­lu­tions” to solve traf­fic con­ges­tion in Metro Cebu. It was un­veiled to the pub­lic last July.

The Na­tional Eco­nomic and Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity In­vest­ment Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee (Neda-ICC) has also ap­proved the BRT’s in­clu­sion in the MCIITS.

But in April, the Cabi­net com­mit­tee urged DOTr to form and mo­bi­lize the project’s TSC, which the agency man­aged to do so only last Septem­ber, or five months later.

The TSC is tasked to over­see the en­tire im­ple­men­ta­tion stage of the project.

Os­meña’s sus­pi­cion

Mean­while, Cebu City Mayor To­mas Os­meña, the brain be­hind the BRT project, yes­ter­day re­acted to the DOTr’s post by ex­press­ing his sus­pi­cion that the BRT project might be dec­i­mated with its in­clu­sion in the MCIITS.

In a sep­a­rate post on his own of­fi­cial Face­book page, Os­meña once again slammed Dino by ac­cus­ing the lat­ter of prob­a­bly sab­o­tag­ing the BRT com­po­nent of MCIITS.

“Michael Dino failed to have the BRT can­celled, so now he’s go­ing to take over its im­ple­men­ta­tion so he can de­stroy it from within. The BRT could have be­gun im­ple­men­ta­tion ear­lier this year. It SHOULD have been com­pleted by next year,” Os­meña said.

Os­meña has vig­or­ously op­posed the moves to can­cel the BRT project to give way to an LRT sys­tem, which was cham­pi­oned by Dino, one of the mayor’s vo­cal crit­ics.

CDN left a text message in Dino’s in­box but he has not replied as of press time.

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