Rama calls for removal of CBRT manager Imbong amid ‘crisis’

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 01,2024 - 09:32 AM

RAMA CBRT MANAGER. In photo is the ongoing construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project, which started  in

After spending more than a decade in the pipeline, construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) commenced in 2023. This photo from the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) team showed portions of the project near the Cebu Provincial Capitol. It was taken last January 2024,

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama wants the project manager of the Cebu Rapid Bus Transit to be removed from his position, citing mismanagement as the reason for the replacement.

“I have enough of Imbong,” said Rama, who was referring to CBRT Project Manager Norvin Imbong and that he was recommending to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista to remove the CBRT official.

In an interview on Friday, March 1, Rama said that he had already relayed his position to Secretary Bautista regarding his recommendation to remove Imbong as CBRT project manager.

READ: Gwen orders to halt Cebu BRT construction in heritage buffer zones

Rama on CBRT manager: Pushing for removal

In his Ing’na Mayor program via Sugboanon Channel on February 29, the mayor cited the series of mishaps which delayed the project’s progress due to Imbong’s mismanagement and lack of coordination with the Cebu City government.

He said, if necessary, he would personally appeal to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for Imbong’s removal.

Rama expressed dissatisfaction with Imbong for allowing the contractor to proceed with work segments without considering their impact on traffic.

He recalled addressing several concerns, including the exclusion of Barangay Bulacao from CBRT’s southern route, during discussions with Imbong and other project team members.

READ: Cebu City council seeks halt to CBRT construction due to heritage concerns


“Ngano’ng inyo man ni’ng gi-usab? Bulacao man ni (apil unta sa rota),” Rama said.

(Why did you change this? That is Bulacao (that should be included in the route).)

He added, “Tan-awa gi-unsa ni ninyo, dayun mo-ingun mo nga wala mo’y kalibutan?”

(Look what you did to this, then you will just say that you have no idea about it?)

In a separate interview with DyHP, Rama expressed his discontent to anchor Ruphil Bañoc regarding Imbong’s decision to extend the deadline of Phase 1 from December 2023 to July 24, 2024.

“Ilisdan nako na. You better tell him ilisdan na nako (siya)… I wish nga wala siya nag-lilimbong. Taga-an lang ka’g smile-smile. I’m sorry, I want him out,” Rama said.

READ: Phase 1 of Cebu BRT project due for turnover in May or June

(I will have him replaced. You better tell him that I will have him replaced … I wish that he did not try to lie to us. He would just give us a smile. I’m sorry, I want him out.)

Recently, the CBRT project has once again come into the spotlight of the news.

On February 27, the Cebu Provincial government issued memorandum No. 16-2024, addressed to the Cebu BRT Team and the contractor, Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd., to halt civil works on province-owned lots along Osmeña Boulevard.

The governor pointed out in the memorandum that the ongoing construction of the Cebu BRT has encroached upon portions of the buffer zones of the Cebu Provincial Capitol and Fuente Osmeña Circle.

Additionally, the Cebu City Council passed a resolution to pause the ongoing civil works of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project at the Cebu Provincial Capitol. This decision was made due to concerns that the construction poses a visual intrusion on the iconic building.

READ: The transformative impact of infrastructure on Philippine industrial real estate

Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia initiated the motion during the city council’s regular session on Wednesday, February 28, urging the Office of the Building Official (OBO) to issue a cease-and-desist order against the construction of a bus station, which is part of the CBRT project.

In response to the ongoing issue, Rama expressed his frustration, stating that he had had enough with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s orders to halt the construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on province-owned lots along Osmeña Boulevard.

He also criticized Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia for supporting the governor’s decision.

For Rama, the BRT issue is the last straw in Governor Garcia’s meddling with affairs concerning Cebu City.

“I would like to remind the governor that there’s a mayor of a highly urbanized city… Come on! Kanus-a man kuno ang gobernador mudikta sa syudad? Di na mahimo (When can a governor dictate the city? That won’t happen) while I’m the mayor,” Rama said on February 29.

It has been a year since the groundbreaking of Phase 1 of the CBRT, with the initial completion originally scheduled for December 2023. However, it has been pushed back to July 2024. /with reports from Cebu City News and Information, Morexette Erram

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TAGS: CBRT, CBRT Project Manager, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama

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