BRT project can no longer be stopped

By: Inna Gian Mejia, Jose Santino S. Bunachita July 05,2017 - 11:06 PM


THE implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project can no longer be stopped.

BRT Project Implementation Unit (PIU) head Rafael Yap said the World Bank (WB)–funded project is no longer in the planning and development stage, but is already in the implementation stage.

“These are design issues, not feasibility issues or issues of corruption. The reasons being pointed out by the other side are already being addressed in the project’s design. The project has undergone review several times. It has gone through the NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) Board twice,” Yap told Cebu Daily News.

He was referring to the observations of Engr. Rene Santiago, a freelance transportation and engineering expert, who said that the BRT would not work in Cebu City because of its narrow roads.

But Yap said this is why the project has a component for road widening in order to accommodate the buses that will be plying through designated bus lanes.

Yap also pointed out that it is “rare” and “highly unlikely” for a foreign-funded project to be canceled especially since it is already undergoing implementation.

“The consequences of doing so will impact the direction of the Duterte administration to implement projects through ‘Build, Build, Build.’ What? Will it be ‘Cancel, Cancel, Cancel?’” he added.

He explained that the BRT-PIU is already going to bid out the construction for the first phase of the BRT project within the year and construction will begin next year.

The first phase of the project will be along Osmeña Boulevard, where there is no need to widen the road since it is already wide enough to accommodate the buses.

The route for the P10 billion BRT project will start along N. Bacalso Ave. in Barangay Bulacao, turn left to Osmeña Blvd., pass around the Fuente Osmeña rotunda, turn right to Escario St. and go all the way to the Banilad-Talamban Road.

It is expected to be fully operational by 2021.


For his part, while Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña says he does not object to integrating the BRT with a Light Rail Transit (LRT), he lashed out at threats canceling the BRT because of political grandstanding.

He said the engineering design for the BRT is already complete, while there is still no approved LRT project.

“Let us not be put in a trap. I cannot even compare because there is no LRT. How can we compare? The important element is it does not exist,” he said in a press conference yesterday.

He said canceling the BRT would also be an insult to the World Bank and the French government who spent millions of dollars for its study.

“That is an insult to Duterte and World Bank. I just have a question to Cebu, do you really believe this guy? Who will you believe?” he said.

Osmeña also lashed out at Regional Development Council-7 chairperson Kenneth Cobonpue for meddling in the BRT project.

Cobonpue earlier said that with the increased budget of the bus-based transport project, it would need to pass the NEDA board.

The initial approved budget was P10.6 billion, and it has increased to P16.9 billion.

“Murag nag-apil apil na si Cobonpue. They (Dino and Cobonpue) are friends. They are business partners. I would like to point out that the BRT is a city project. It is not an RDC project. Nganong mag-apil-apil man siya niana? Is the RDC the boss of Cebu City?” Osmeña said.

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TAGS: BRT, Can, longer, No, project, stopped

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