Rama: LRT is okay, just don’t touch heritage sites
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama said the suggestion of President Rodrigo to put up overpasses and trains in the city instead of expanding the roads should be considered carefully in order not to touch the existing heritage sites.
The President said in his speech during the Sinulog Grand Showdown at the Cebu City Sports Center on Sunday, January 19, 2020, that because Cebu City is an old city, it is impossible to expand the roads anymore.
Instead, he said the city should focus on railways and infrastructure such as overpasses in order to solve the “worsening” traffic situation.
Yet putting up overpasses or even a light railway transit (LRT) would affect the city’s heritage sites as these infrastructures would block the view of these sites.
Rama, who is currently the chairperson of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC), said that the suggestion of the President not to expand the roads and instead build infrastructure could be a solution to the traffic problem, but not in all places.
“Okay ra man ko ato. Any solution to solve the traffic is already okay for me basta lang dili mahilabtan ang heritage sites,” said the vice mayor.
(The President’s suggestion is okay for me. Any solution to the traffic problem is okay for me as long as the heritage sites remain untouched.)
Rama reiterates that Cebu City, as the oldest city of the Philippines, is a heritage site that must be preserved, especially since this is what brings tourists into the city.
He said that progress should not destroy the remaining treasures of the past, and these things should be protected instead.
It was during the administration of former mayor, Tomas Osmeña, and Rama, who served as the vice mayor in 2008, that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan for Cebu City was brought up.
The project was revised by the Department of Transporation (DOTr) in 2019 but will still entail the widening of roads to accommodate a lane for buses.
Rama said this was a viable solution for the city’s traffic. However, the BRT is yet to be realized twelve years after, although the DOTr promised the project to be partially finished by 2021. /rcg
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