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Imee on CBRT issue: Should have been settled before project was started

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 10,2024 - 10:30 AM

Senator Imee Marcos addressed questions from the Cebu media on Saturday, March 9, in Cebu City. CDN Digital photo/Niña Mae Oliverio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos believes that while local officials in Cebu “know much better” in handling the issues hounding the ongoing construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT), she said issues should have been addressed before the project was actually started.

“Sadly, this all should have been settled before the national government launched it. Sana nagkasundo na ‘yan at natapos na so that we finally have a solution for this. Pero, hindi ako mag a-atribida na may ‘ImeeSolusyon’ diyan kasi local na issue kailangan pag-usapan nila,” Marcos said when asked about the CBRT during a press conference in Cebu City on Saturday, March 9.

Marcos though emphasized that she does not have the authority to intervene in local matters because Cebu is not within her jurisdiction. She expressed confidence in the local officials, stating that they “know much better and perhaps they could settle it among themselves.”

“We all suffer from the Cebu traffic but at the same time, hindi ako pwedeng makialam kasi hindi ko naman teritoryo ‘to,” the senator said.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the CBRT project was held last February 27, 2023, where his brother, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was the guest of honor.

Imee is in Cebu as one of the key officials who will lead the distribution of cash assistance to Typhoon Odette victims in Mandaue City on Sunday, March 10, together with Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes.

Fight over stoppage of CBRT project

Less than a year after its groundbreaking, debates have erupted in Cebu regarding whether to continue construction of the CBRT project. This came after Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia called for a halt to civil works near Fuente Osmeña and the Capitol building to protect heritage sites.

Aside from the governor, some members of the Cebu City council also sought halt to CBRT construction due to heritage concerns, as raised by Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia during his privilege speech last February 28.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama expressed anger upon hearing about these developments and pledged to pursue legal action against anyone, including the governor, who tries to obstruct the CBRT project’s construction.

READ: TIMELINE: The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit

Cebu BRT’s 2nd phase package to be awarded in 2024

Meanwhile, former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña also threatened to sue the governor if the latter would insist on stopping CBRT works on province-owned lots.

The CBRT is considered as Osmeña’s brainchild when he proposed it in the late 1990s after visiting other countries that have bus-based public transportation like Brazil, where it first emerged.

In 2022, when a new president took office, the people who initially supported the CBRT project had already left.

However, interest in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) revived when Marcos Jr. mentioned it in his first State of the Nation Address and promised to finish it during his term. / with reports from Morexette Marie Erram and Pia Piquero


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TAGS: BRT, CBRT, Cebu Bus Rapid Transit, Cebu City

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