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Road widening in N. Bacalso to continue after tree issues

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Reporter/CDN Digital | February 22,2020 - 05:32 PM
Workers at the Mambaling underpass in Cebu City.

The Mambaling Underpass’s side roads would need to be widened said the Department of Public Works and Highways. | CDN Digital File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7) will proceed with the road widening at N. Bacalso National Highway after two months of hiatus following the refusal of the city government to cut the trees in the area.

On December 2019, the DPWH-7 decided to suspend the road widening at the N. Bacalso-F. Llamas Street junction of the two lanes along the Mambaling Underpass due to the lack of funds to fulfill the request of the city government to earthball the trees.

In their December 16, 2019 letter, the DPWH-7 said the project was supposed to start on October 11, 2019, but this was suspended as the 15th City Council requested a reassessment of their project permits especially the tree-cutting permits.

They were originally given permission by the 14th City Council to continue with the project and cut the trees in the area, but the 15th City Council objected to the cutting of the trees.

Villar’s advice

In a February 6, 2020 letter to the city government, the DPWH-7 said that they had been advised to continue the project by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, who inspected the area during his January 23, 2020 visit to Cebu City.

“He (Villar) strongly instructed us to pursue the implementation of the above projects, which take strong cognizance as the desire of the City of Cebu Local Government Unit (LGU) on the issue,” said Engineer Edgar Tabacon, DPWH-7 director.

Councilor Jerry Guardo, council’s committee on infrastructure chairperson, said they had called on the DPWH to a Citizen’s Hour in the council to explain the road widening and how the agency planned to deal with the trees.

In a phone interview with CDN Digital, Guardo said that the city would cooperate with the DPWH especially since the project would not cost anything from the city.

He said that the DPWH would still have to follow the guidelines of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) when it would come to the cutting or earth balling of the trees, which would depend on the width of the tree.

The council’s committee on environment headed by Vice Mayor Michael Rama is also reviewing other environmental permits for the project.

“Kana nga junction grabe gyod ang traffic kay two lane naman lang na kilid sa underpass, so if naay manaog, hunong tanan. Ing-ana ka hasol. Necessary na gyod siya iwiden. (That junction is congested because there are only two lanes at each side of the underpass, so if a jeepney unloads, all that follow it will be affected. There is a necessity to widen the area),” said Guardo.

Guardo said the council would review the permits of DPWH, but he assured the public that the widening would push through as it was a necessity for the underpass area. /dbs

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