Labella tags Osmeña as 'monster's father' over Mambaling traffic

THE Cebu City Council will look into Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s request to declare a state of emergency to allow public utility jeepneys (PUJs) to ply the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR).

A state of emergency will have to be declared to allow PUJs to use the CSCR.

For the declaration to be made, the City Transportation Office needs to write the City Council. An ordinance currently prohibits PUJs from using the coastal road.

Earlier, Osmeña said he is planning to temporarily allow PUJs to access the CSCR while traffic on N. Bacalso Ave. is still heavy on most days due to the ongoing construction of an underpass.

Since the construction of the multi-billion underpass project started, a portion of N. Bacalso Ave., has been closed and PUJs were diverted to E. Sabellano St., after the access along F. Llamas St., was also closed.

Due to the narrow access roads, motorists and commuters have been suffering from the heavy traffic situation for days now.

Aside from allowing PUJs on CSCR, Osmeña also earlier proposed to ban private vehicles on N. Bacalso Ave. on peak hours.

In a press statement yesterday, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said the declaration will require a “serious” review of the policy considerations made as bases for limiting the use of the coastal road to certain types of vehicles.

“What is frustrating is that this situation could have been avoided if certain City officials had exercised more prudence and not plunged recklessly into undertaking a project that had been shelved by the previous administration.

(Because) both the proponents and the implementing agency had no contingency plans to mitigate the traffic that we were certain the construction of the Mambaling tunnel would bring about and which we are experiencing today,” Labella said.

The vice mayor called the traffic situation brought about by the development as “monstrous”, and added that it needs to be addressed immediately.

“We cannot and will not be oblivious to the suffering of our people,” he said.

Labella lamented that the previous administration had demanded that the alternate routes be developed and access roads widened before the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 would give the contractor the notice to proceed.

“But for reasons that only the mayor could explain, as soon as he took over, he disregarded our previous warnings and prodded the DPWH to start the project of his political ally, the Cebu City south congressman (Rodrigo Abellanosa) without asking for traffic mitigating measures. That was, and remains, unforgivable,” Labella said.

“The ‘state of emergency’ that the mayor now wants the City Council to declare should be viewed in this light. He now projects himself as a monster slayer when the truth is that he is the monster’s father,” he added.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach Osmeña for his comment, but he was not available as of press time. The mayor was in Singapore over the weekend to join some barangay captains for a personal trip.

The heavy traffic in Mambaling has hurt several businesses in the area, some of which have decided to stop their operations.

The traffic problem is expected to stay for the next two years.(RTF)