Osmeña won’t block LRT, but he will push for BRT

Razel V. Cuizon

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.