Briones: No man is an island

Publio Briones III

WHY not indeed?

Joel Mari Yu, economic consultant of the Cebu Economic Business Unit, has come up with a pragmatic solution to the impasse that hounds the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Cebu City.

Yu proposed implementing both the BRT and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) to alleviate the city’s traffic problem.

“The problem of traffic in Cebu is very real already and it needs a solution… We are not looking for a perfect solution. There is no such thing. Anything that will solve traffic now is a very welcome development, and if the BRT is already here, let’s give it a chance,” he told SunStar Cebu.

I can feel the resignation, or should I say, the desperation in Yu’s appeal. He is, after all, right on all counts.

But what Yu failed to point out is that the problem is not consigned to Cebu City alone. The City needs to work with all the local government agencies (LGUs) in the metro to address it.

That’s why I don’t understand why Cebu City is trying to tackle the matter single-handedly.

Traffic cannot be addressed if all the LGUs concerned do not cooperate.

That must have dawned on National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia after his meeting with Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino.

It was Dino who told him about an ongoing feasibility study for another mode of mass transport. One that encompasses the whole of Metro Cebu.

Hence, the subway proposal for Cebu City and the LRT system for the component towns and other cities in the metro.

Dino said in an interview that the experts hired by his office revealed that the BRT “can do more harm to the public than good.”

Engr. Fortunato Sanchez of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board and Marc Canton of the Movement for a Liveable Cebu also urged the government to review the BRT.

Late last Wednesday, the Department of Transportation, the implementing office for BRT projects in Cebu City, announced through Dino’s office that it is putting on hold the implementation of the BRT pending review.

Not that the project is dead. Not by all means.

It just means that the noise generated by its pros and cons has finally reached the right ears. Ears that are willing to listen to all the stakeholders involved.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Dino, Pernia and all the other cast in this infrastructure drama have one thing in common, and that is they want to come up with a solution to the traffic woes.

So Osmeña is dead set on the BRT and Dino is gung-ho for the subway-LRT, but there’s no doubt that both men have the plight of the commuters in mind.

If only they and the other stakeholders can sit down and work together to address this problem, the metro and its residents will be in a much better place.

Then again, maybe I’m just being too optimistic. Or naive.