Mega Cebu road map needs Metro Authority to steer it

By: Aileen Garcia-Yap, Marites Villamor Ilano May 23,2015 - 01:48 AM

Wide north-to-south highways. Large dams to provide abundant water supply.

A flood control system for rivers.

These and other high-impact infrastructure projects were proposed for Cebu since the late ’70s and would have been realized by now.

Instead, foreign-assisted studies for these projects were “ignored” by decision makers, said Engr. Fortunato Sanchez, Jr. who discussed the latest output for the vision of Mega Cebu in a forum of the Cebu Business Club yesterday.

What will ensure that similar projects in a new road map for Metro Cebu prepared by consultants of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) don’t  end up the same way?

Sanchez said stakeholders must revive the idea of creating a Metro Cebu Development Authority (MCDA) to see the vision through.

“We must learn from the mistakes of the past. We had a master plan for Cebu in 1994, but we ignored it,” he said.

He was referring to the Cebu Integrated Area Development Master Plan, which was also conducted by JICA.

“We did not act, so we pay. This is the result of what we have done,” he said, showing photos of congested and flooded streets, polluted waterways, an inefficient public transportation system and inadequate water supply.

Sanchez heads the subcommittee on infrastructure and utilities of the   Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB), the steering group of the Mega Cebu movement.

The board headed by Gov. Hilario Davide III with co-chairmen Roberto Aboitiz and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is a joint collaboration of private sector and government stakeholders in 13 towns and cities of Metro Cebu.

Sanchez presented highlights of the draft final report of the JICA’s “Roadmap Study for the Sustainable Urban Development in Metro Cebu” in a forum at the Marco Polo Plaza.

In terms of who will lead implementation, Sanchez said the current setup was “not sustainable”.

He said the board will push for a Metro Cebu Development Authority but that it should be one that is “five times better” than its counterpart in Metro Manila.


“I don’t think this (status quo) will work. MCDCB is just a coordinating body. It has no funds. We’re all volunteers. We’re only working for this because we love Cebu,” he said.

Advocates say legislation is needed to create an Authority to give it teeth but due to resistance from political leaders, pending bills in Congress forming an MCDA never took off.

The bills were filed and refiled by Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu city’s north district in the early 1990s.

Sanchez said the current Mega Cebu board will help draft another bill creating the MCDA and that it has the commitment of Congressman del Mar and Sen. Teofisto Guingona III to sponsor it.

With an Authority, there will be a dedicated team that will make plans and follow through in executing them.

The final road map  report will be completed next month, Sanchez said. The road map covers Mega Cebu, which is made up of 13 local government units from Danao City in the north to Carcar City in the south.

The road map listed 18 short-to-long-term infrastructure projects and nine other priority projects.


These include : -a Cebu-Mactan dual mode bridge mass transport systems that would all be linked to each other by 2050, road widening projects,  new traffic signal lights,  a suburban highway from Naga to Danao and  a Cebu City-Cordova bridge.

The proposed mass transport systems include a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit and an Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) systems.

Of these, only the BRT has been approved by the Aquino administration as a Private-Public Partnership funded by the World Bank.

A detailed engineering study is being undertaken.

Other proposed projects are Mandaue-Tayud coastal road, improved ferry system, a toll highway and the revitalization of the Philippine National Railways right-of-way from Argao to Danao.

Another priority is the urban greening or Green Loop project, which will showcase green pedestrian and bicycle lanes all over Metro Cebu.


To implement all these projects, Sanchez said JICA is proposing five models of coordinating bodies.

Option 5 is the current set up with MCDCB still existing with the support of a technical research unit and several project management offices. /With Xavier University Intern Pearl Therese S. Aton

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TAGS: Cebu, flood, Mega Cebu, Metro
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