Barug councilors question Cebu City’s capability to implement BRT; Osmeña says it can be done

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo May 27,2018 - 10:34 PM

Mister Mayor, don’t chew more than you can swallow.”

That was the message of Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera to Mayor Tomas Osmeña after the latter expressed willingness to takeover the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), in case the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is unwilling to implement it.

Garganera said the city has a lot of stalled projects that the mayor should be taking care of, rather than to implement the P17-Billion mass transportation project.

“Wa man gani ta kahuman aning P600 million nga budget sa CCMC (Cebu City Medical Center) and P700 million nga underpass sa N. Bacalso, kani na hinuon nga P17 billion plus nga BRT nga we don’t have the experience ani? (We are not even done yet with the P600 million CCMC, and the P700 million N. Bacalso underpass, and now, we would take on the P17 billion plus BRT, which we have no experience to implement?) Wake up, Tom. You’re having a bad dream,” said Garganera in a text reply to Cebu Daily News on Sunday.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, who is also allied with the opposition Barug Team Rama PDP Laban like Garganera, also opined that the city has no capability and experience to implement and operate a mass transport system.

“I am not in favor nga kita ang mobuhat ana (that we will implement it), for two reasons: one, we don’t have the capacity and know how to implement a Bus Rapid Transit; and two, operations-wise, I don’t think we are ready to do that,” said Garcia.

Leave it to the private sector

Garcia feared the city government would end up incurring economic losses for implementing and operating the BRT despite its absence of experience.

He added: “Tungod kay wa tay experience niana, what will happen kung ma-alkansi ang pag operate sa BRT kay di ta kamao or way manakay? What will happen? Kita na pod ang magbaguod og bayad nianang utang.”  (Because we have no experience, what will happen if we incur losses because we don’t know how to operate the BRT or if no one uses it to commute? What will happen? We will end up paying for the BRT loan.)

Garcia said there is no way that Cebu City could afford or has the capacity to pay the P17-billion loan secured from the World Bank for the project.

Garcia said the operation of a mass transport system should be left to the private sector.

“We are in the business of public service. We are in the business of delivering basic services to people. We are not here to be operators of mass transportation,” said Garcia.

‘Yes, I can’

Osmeña, in response, lashed at the opposition councilors for their reservation about the city’s capacity in implementing the project.

“Just because the opposition cannot do it, doesn’t mean I can’t,” Osmeña said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.

Osmeña refuted the opposition’s claim that the city has no experience in operating a transport system.

“Thirty years ago, we were the first and only city to run a bus system, thanks to the first delivery of 100 Kaohsiung buses. Some of those buses are still running,” Osmeña said.

Osmeña expressed his willingness to assume the responsibility for the implementation of the BRT after National Economic Development Authority (Neda) Director General Ernesto Pernia said they are contemplating of handing over the project to the Cebu City government.

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TAGS: Barug, BRT, capability, Cebu City, councilors, Implement, it can be done, Osmeña, question, says

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