‘We’re willing to talk traffic, projects’
RDC-7 EXEC DEFENDS MOVES
Members of the Regional Development Council in Central Visayas (RDC-7) are willing to engage anyone in a public discourse, including local officials in Metro Cebu, to discuss traffic congestion and the projects lobbied by these officials to address this problem.
Glenn Soco, RDC-7 Infrastructure Development Committee head, said this as he took to Facebook on Thursday to reiterate the stand of Kenneth Cobonpue, RDC-7 co-chairman, that the organization is not merely a “stamp pad” on government projects.
“We want to be proactive and collective in approving policies and projects that can finally change the perennial system of traditional politics that has influenced the projects that are approved by the RDC. We will stand up and engage anyone in any public discourse — be it in principle or in the battlefield,” said Soco on his post.
Soco’s statement came three days after Cobonpue and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña exchanged tirades following the decision of Cebu City North District Rep. Raul del Mar to walk out of the RDC-7’s meeting last March 16 when his project proposals, amounting to a total of P16 billion, were not endorsed.
These include his plans to construct an 8.2-kilometer underpass that would connect D. Jakosalem to Barangay Talamban (P9.2 billion); a 3.5-kilometer underpass connecting S. Osmeña Road to Salinas Drive (P3.9 billion); and a 2.6-kilometer underpass from Ayala Access Road to F. Cabahug St. (P2.9 billion).
In response to Soco’s sentiments, Osmeña showed during a press briefing on Thursday a blank sheet of paper and pointed it out as his scorecard for the current members of the RDC-7.
Osmeña also accused again the group of blocking infrastructure projects proposed by the government.
“Let’s start with their scorecards. They have done nothing. Zero. There’s nothing. They blocked our projects, and now, they’re claiming they are not at fault? Excuse me,” said Osmeña.
Not blocking projects
When sought for comment, Soco said they were not blocking all projects, and that they were ensuring that implementation must be done in a proper sequence.
“To avoid the problems that we are facing now, we have to correct the planning and implementation system of projects particularly with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Again, the problems we are facing now is a product of poor planning and implementation of the past,” said Soco.
He said that since they became members of RDC-7 in 2016, they have endorsed the Metro Cebu Expressway, the Mandaue-Consolacion-Liloan Bypass Road, Talisay-Minglanilla-Naga Bypass Road, Widening of H. Cortes in Mandaue City, Intelligent Traffic Systems, Improvement of Intersections, and a Sea Transport System for Metro Cebu.
“We are prioritizing also the Guadalupe-Lahug bypass road among other projects that we have endorsed and about to endorse region-wide,” Soco stated.
Open to new ideas
Meanwhile, Cebu City Councilors Joel Garganera and Raymond Alvin Garcia encouraged Osmeña to be more open to “new ideas.”
“I have full trust and confidence on the appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte. Mr. Cobonpue and Mr. Soco have no ulterior motives or hidden agenda. All they want is what is good for Cebu City and Cebu in general,” said Garcia.
Garcia also agreed to RDC-7’s contention that the creation of underpass tunnels and flyovers do not solve Metro Cebu’s traffic problem.
“With the volume of car increasing, you should also have the corresponding number of the creation of new roads. That’s why our projects now should be more focused on creating more roads,” he said.
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