It’s a ‘basket of solutions,’ not just BRT, says Tugade

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram May 25,2018 - 10:43 PM

TRANSPORTATION Secretary Arthur Tugade stressed the need to discipline users, drivers, and the public in Metro Cebu if only to solve once and for all the growing traffic problem in the area.

The secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) made this call during his speech at the Asia CEO Forum held in Pasay City last Thursday, which was aired on Facebook Live.

“Not one system can address fully and completely the traffic and transportation issues of the Philippines. And that to me needs a basket of solution. A basket of solutions from the point of view of infrastructure, point of view of the equipment, and point of view of the procedures. And that, to include, at the end of the day, the discipline of the user, the discipline of the driver, and the discipline of the public,” said Tugade.

Tugade, speaking as well on his position on the P17-billion Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, stressed that while he was not entirely against the BRT system and acknowledged it as a viable solution to the growing traffic congestion in Cebu City, he has reservations about its design.

Among those, he said, was that the BRT, as proposed, was designed to take up at least three lanes of the existing roads.

“I’m not against the BRT system, it is a good system. I’m not an engineer but how can you dedicate a system when it’s not yet even tested. I’m not against the BRT system, it is a good system but it has to be started on a platform that is ground zero … It is a good system that it can help the traffic congestion,” said Tugade.

Tugade had been vocal about his opposition to implementing the BRT in Cebu City because of several factors, including the city’s narrow road network.

His comment on the viability of the BRT as a transport system that he expounded in last Thursday’s Asia CEO Forum came just two days after DOTr officials met with representatives from the World Bank.

On May 22, the DOTr posted on their official Facebook page photos of the meeting of its officials led by Tugade with representatives from the World Bank, which together with the Agence Française de Developpement (AFD), the international lending arm of the French government for development projects, granted to the Philippines a loan in 2014 that amounted to US$198 million for the implementation of the BRT.

It can be recalled that the DOTr, a week before the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordinating Committee (Neda-ICC) was set to convene last April 25, submitted a recommendation letter addressed to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, expressing its intentions to scrap the BRT project.

This prompted the committee to give the DOTr 10 days to come up with a short-term alternative.

But Socioeconomic and Planning Secretary and Neda Director General Ernesto Pernia, who chairs the Neda-ICC, said DOTr has failed to meet the deadline and has yet to submit its short-term alternative solutions to Cebu’s traffic woes.

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