Tomas and Dino squabble anew over BRT
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Presidential Assistant to the Visayas, Secretary Michael Dino are once again at odds over the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project of the city, blaming each other over the project’s delay.
Osmeña filed his candidacy as Cebu City South District Representative on October 7, 2021, and in an interview, issued scathing remarks on the progress of the BRT.
“Ang BRT nga gikawat ni (Secretary Michael) Dino importante gyod na sa South District, mao na akong number one priority. Gisaaran ni Dino nga, ‘next year naa nay monorail,’ but that’s five years ago. Nahunong gyod ang atong proyekto tungod ni Dino (when) I’ve been working on that for ten years.”
“Ang BRT magsugod na sa Bulacao all the way to downtown, 10 to 15 minutes ra, makabenefit gyod atong constituents sa south,” said Osmeña.
Osmeña and Dino had been at odds for a long time since the latter was appointed as the Presidential Assistant to the Visayas. Their policies clash especially on the implementation of the BRT.
The current BRT route begins at the South Road Properties (SRP), which Osmeña has expressed disappointment over because the original plan was supposed to make the BRT line accessible to residents of the south along N. Bacalso Highway.
However, Secretary Dino said that the BRT’s current plans are more adept at the needs of Metro Cebu.
The original plan covered a 21.58-kilometer corridor route with 16 kilometers of segregated bus lanes from Barangay Bulacao to Ayala Center Mall along Natalio Bacalso Avenue, Osmena Blvd., and N. Escario Street.
A six (6) kilometer stretch of bus priority lanes through curbside stations at junctions will allow BRT buses to reach Barangay Talamban along Gov. Cuenco Avenue.
“Should Tommy pursue his version of the BRT Project, Cebu City and perhaps its neighboring LGUs would have plunged into a chronic traffic gridlock. The dreaming Tommy’s BRT design was not meant to alleviate traffic in Cebu City, a problem he never really effectively addressed as Mayor for 30 years. It was more for personal gain,” said Dino.
Dino notes that changes in the project’s technical design, the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System (CEBRT) as part of the Cebu Integrated Intermodal Transport System (CIITS), now covers a 35-kilometer road corridor of which, 13.2 kilometers are dedicated busways from the South Road Properties (SRP) in the southeast to the north and, 22.1 kilometers of three segments considered as feeder services.
These feeder segments are Mambaling-Talisay stretching 8.7 km; SRP-Talisay with 8.2 km stretch; and, IT Park to Talamban stretching 5.2 km.
Not only that, this new concept of the CIITS, which includes the CEBRT, also includes a “world-class” design that suits the tropical climate of Cebu.
“For Tommy to say that the project was stolen from him, it was definitely not. It is not his in the first place. It is both a national and local initiative, now redesigned, recalibrated and revised for the good of the Cebuano people. Further, he claims that the BRT project was delayed unnecessarily. The present BRT abides by the law and does not circumvent any process including feasibility studies, appropriation of funds, expropriation of necessary lots, and road widening among others,” added the secretary.
The current CEBRT of DOTr and Cebu City is nearing partial operability and it is paired with another modern project— a digital traffic system covering 85 road intersections.
Dino said this new tirade is an attempt to make claims of the CEBRT even when the former mayor’s original plans are no longer feasible.
“Tommy is becoming so desperate to get back into power that he just fires his shots without first validating his claims. I didn’t think he’d be this petty, nor pathetic,” added Dino. /rcg
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