Tom vows to back Del Mar’s tunnel project proposals
CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña expressed his support to the tunnel project proposals of his ally, Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City North District).
“Of course I’ll help him. We’ll help each other,” said Osmeña, who is also Del Mar’s political ally under the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) party.
He expressed his support as Del Mar announced on Thursday that he would fight to get approval of Congress on his projects to secure the funding for them.
Osmeña also slammed critics who questioned Del Mar’s proposals, particularly members of the Regional Development Council in Central Visayas (RDC-7).
“These people, they are only pretenders of the throne. Metro Cebu? How can you be Metro Cebu without Cebu City? We are chairman of Metro Cebu,” he said.
He also said that he had gotten more money for Cebu than all the RDC-7 combined.
Although they welcome big-ticket projects for Cebu, RDC-Infrastructure Development Committee head Glenn Soco earlier stressed the need to scrutinize them before they would be implemented otherwise they would lead to more inconvenience for the public.
A stand that Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia agreed upon.
Garcia, who is one of the city councilors from Cebu City’s north district, said in a phone interview on Saturday that implementing large-scale infrastructure projects should be done with utmost caution.
“I would still be very cautious on what project to undertake especially those aligned with the road which was already made by Mega Cebu and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency),” said Garcia.
However, he said that having tunnels are better than underpasses in Cebu City.
“The tunnel is a better alternative than the underpasses which he (Del Mar) initially proposed. Because I’ve always been against projects which do not increase road capacity. If you do not increase road capacity and our number of cars are increasing, traffic is still inevitable,” Garcia said.
During last Thursday’s General Membership Meeting of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) in Marco Polo Hotel, Del Mar announced that he wanted tunnels instead of underpass in the north district of Cebu City.
He also asserted that tunnels are better solutions to traffic bottlenecks in Cebu City by stating that they can double road capacities unlike underpasses.
This came a month after Del Mar failed to secure an endorsement from the RDC-7 last March.
He proposed three tunnels which will be traversing from D. Jakosalem St. to F. Sotto Drive to Archbishop Reyes Ave. to Gov. M. Cuenco Ave. to Barangay Talamban proper; from Salinas Drive to Pope John Paul II Ave. to S. Osmeña Road; and from Cardinal Rosales Ave. to F. Cabahug St. to Hernan Cortes St. in Mandaue City.
The total budget needed to construct all these tunnels is estimated at P16 billion.
But last March, the RDC-7 did not approve their inclusion into the programs, activities, and projects (PAP) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the year 2019.
Instead, they approved the conduct of feasibility studies for a more generic “road capacity enhancement” in the areas where the underpass projects proposed by Del Mar are located, and therefore reducing the cost to P853 million.
This prompted Del Mar to walk out and vowed not to attend any meetings of the RDC-7 in the future. /with PIT Intern Marthy Lubiano
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