cdn mobile

Untangling the traffic gridlock

By: and John Aroa, Jessa Mae O. Sotto, Norman V. Mendoza September 27,2018 - 12:49 AM

Solving Metro Cebu’s worsening traffic situation is not just a problem for the cities and towns of the metropolis but for the entire province of Cebu, as well.

For the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB), which spearheads a program known as Mega Cebu, the problem is a shared responsibility between the public and private sector.

Partnership and cooperation among all stakeholders is encouraged while LGUs are called on to collaborate and coordinate policies, plans, programs, projects, and practices to address common and trans-boundary assets, issues, and challenges.

Metro Cebu consists of the seven cities of Carcar, Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga, Talisay, and six municipalities of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla, and San Fernando.

“The current population of 2.5 million of Metro Cebu is anticipated to double by 2050, and challenges of rapid growth and urbanization will be constrained by the resource and infrastructure limitations,” said a report from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The major urban issues and challenges are “transboundary” in nature, therefore, extend beyond the geopolitical boundaries, the report added.

“Now, more than ever, it is necessary for the 13 local governments, national government agencies, private sector, and civil society to come together in a collective effort to collaborate and cooperate in defining the future of Metro Cebu,” said JICA.

In the Mega Cebu concept, the total island population will rise to 12 million by the year 2050, making the need for strategic, unified and concerted development efforts not only necessary but urgent.

The urgency of a unified approach to Cebu’s urban problems has become even more apparent with Metro Cebu’s P1.1 billion losses in economic opportunities daily due to traffic as estimated by JICA in a 2018 first quarter report.

MCDCB Chairperson and Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III has called on members of Mega Cebu to find ways to alleviate the worsening traffic congestion in the metropolis under the Mega Cebu perspective of looking at governance and development from a big picture and not on an individual LGU-specific scale.

Except for Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña who withdrew Cebu City’s participation from the MCDCB in 2016, all the local chief executives of cities and towns in Metro Cebu support plans for a unified traffic approach.

Unified traffic approach
In Mandaue City, Mayor Gabriel Luis ‘Luigi’ Quisumbing, whose family owns the Cebu-based motorcycle manufacturer and distributor Norkis Group of Companies, views traffic from both from the perspective of the private and public sectors.

The mayor welcomes the creation of more road networks and other infrastructure by the Department of Public Works ang Highways (DPWH) and supports a mass transport system.

Mandaue City is currently the recipient of two big ticket projects from DPWH: A Tri-Level Depressed Project along U.N. Avenue designed to ease traffic in areas leading to Marcelo Fernan Bridge; and the rehabilitation of an eight-lane expressway along Ouano Avenue which connects the cities of Cebu and Mandaue through the North Reclamation Area.

“It would really help solve road congestion. We feel the support from the national government. Unfortunately, while the road works are under construction, it will cause further traffic; but after that, it will be so much better,” he said.

Quisumbing hopes to open sea travel between Mandaue City and Mactan Island, especially when the actual construction of the P946-million UN Avenue Tri-Level Depressed Project begins.

He notes the growing number of vehicles on the streets of Metro Cebu and the lack of proper urban planning.

“Unfortunately, mas paspas ang pagbaligya ug pagpalit sa mga awto (the selling and buying of cars is faster) compared to the legal process of road widening. Usa sa nakadakong problema (This is one of the biggest problem we have now),” he said.

“There is really a lack of urban planning. But this is not unique to Cebu. It happens throughout the Philippines,” Quisumbing added.

A study conducted by JICA’s project team for the Master Plan Study and Institutional Development on Urban Transport System found that private cars made up 21 percent of Mandaue City’s total traffic volume.

Mandaue came next to Cebu City which registered a total private car volume of 22 percent.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Paz Radaza points to the city’s rapid urbanization as the source of its traffic woes.

Radaza proposes for the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) to consider adjusting their workers’ schedules.

Radaza notes that workers are taking the brunt of the effects of the city’s traffic congestion which are associated to stress.

Lapu-Lapu City’s export zones are home to tens of thousands of employees working in over a hundred companies mostly engaged in assembly and manufacturing from jewelry to electronics.

“I already mentioned (to PEZA) to place the workers’ schedule in different shifts not in one shift only for every company,” said Radaza.

Radaza also stresses the need to discipline drivers as another way to decongest traffic.

“Traffic would not be as bad if people were more disciplined,” she said.

In Talisay City, Mayor Eduardo Gullas hopes to solve traffic in the city by educating his constituents to buy cars only if appropriate for their lifestyle.

Gullas encourages Talisaynons to support moves for a mass transport system.

Similar to Mandaue, Gullas notes an increasing number of vehicles in Talisay.

Gullas longs to have a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in the city, and has been lobbying for it before Congress since 1998.

Gullas’ wish may soon come true after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) proposed to include Talisay City in an LRT project which is a component of the proposed Metro Cebu Integrated Inter-Modal Transport System (IITS).

The LRT project will cover Carcar City in the south up to Danao City, northern Cebu.

In Cebu City, Mayor Osmeña pushes for the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to solve the city’s growing traffic problems.

Osmeña also issued an executive order (EO) with stiffer penalties for traffic violations as a way for the city government to improve traffic management.

Under the EO, any vehicle caught counterflowing in the city’s major thoroughfares will be impounded for 30 days and 60 days if these vehicles are within the critical area of N. Bacalso Ave. where a P638-million underpass is being constructed along Barangay Mambaling.

Last April, the National Economic and Development Authority – Investment Coordinating Committee (Neda-ICC) has placed the P17-billion BRT project for Cebu City under further deliberation when DOTr initially expressed intentions to scrap it.

Neda-ICC asked DOTr to provide the body with a short-term alternative to the BRT in lieu of the project.

Future cooperation
In a traffic summit held last May by MCDCB, officials and experts expressed hope that Cebu City will align with the group’s traffic plans even if its mayor was not keen on joining any future events of MCDCB.

Although he respected Osmeña’s decision not to participate in the summit, Gov. Davide said that he was looking forward to the cooperation of all LGUs especially in coming up with a unified plan to solve traffic issues in Metro Cebu.

“Ato na i-compare tanan (We will compare all) ordinances sa municipalities and cities related to traffic and we will find out where we can unite,” Davide said.
(To be continued…) /With Morexette Marie B. Erram and Delta Derycka Letigio

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: DPWH, Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, MCDCB

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.