Gwen orders to halt Cebu BRT construction in heritage buffer zones

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | February 28,2024 - 11:17 AM

CEBU BRT heritage: Ongoing construction of Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project in this Nov. 13, 2023 photo.

Traffic situation along Osmeña Blvd on November 13, 2023, with the ongoing construction of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane. | CDN File Photo/Niña Mae Oliverio

CEBU CITY, Philippines —  Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has ordered proponents of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to halt civil works near Fuente Osmeña and the Capitol building for heritage protection purposes.

Garcia has issued a memorandum, addressed to the Cebu BRT Team and the contractor, Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd., to cease and desist civil works on province-owned lots along Osmeña Boulevard.

READ: Councilor wants DOTr to expedite Cebu Bus Rapid Transit completion

In memorandum No. 16-2024, the governor pointed out that ongoing construction of the Cebu BRT have encroached portions of the buffer zones of the Cebu Provincial Capitol and Fuente Osmeña circle.

As a result, the project can potentially violate several laws on protecting and preserving heritage properties. These included the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 10066).

READ: DOTr: Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project should push through

Copies of the signed memo, dated February 27, were initially published on the Capitol’s media outlet Sugbo News but then deleted. Members of the media were able to duplicate them.

CEBU BRT heritage: Copy of order

CEBU BRT heritage: Copy of order

The Capitol building along Escario Street is one of the last surviving Neoclassical and Art Deco structures in Cebu, having been built during the American occupation in the 1930s.

It is a National Historical Landmark that possesses Grade 1 Level Heritage Structure classification which means that ‘stricter protection measures’ in preserving it should be observed, the provincial government added.

ALSO READ: Keeping our history and heritage burning

Additionally, the Capitol claimed that the project proponents of the Cebu BRT had not obtained clearance from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to proceed civil works within the specified buffer zones.

“This constitutes a clear violation of RA No. 10066,” they said.

The new route of the Cebu BRT, a long-delayed public mass transportation project, connects South Road Properties (SRP) to Cebu I.T. Park in Brgy. Apas.

In turn, it will cover the entire stretch of Osmeña Boulevard and Escario Street where the Fuente Osmeña Circle and Capitol building are located respectively.

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TAGS: BRT, Cebu City, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia

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