Flyover project to affect USC heritage structure

THE University of San Carlos (USC) has opposed the proposed flyover project along P. del Rosario St., Cebu City, saying it would affect the 73-year-old Arthur Dingman Building that forms part of the university’s historic fabric.

In a position paper signed by USC President Narciso Cellan, SVD, the university asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Central Visayas to cancel the project and instead revisit the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) Roadmap Study for Mega Cebu for guidance in the implementation of infrastructure projects.

The Dingman building, a neoclassical structure constructed in 1948 on the foundations of the Colegio de San Carlos Building that was destroyed by bombing during World War II, was declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) in 2010 as an Important Cultural Property (ICP).

The USC itself was designated as a National Historical Landmark, Cellan said.

Under the Philippine Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, the DPWH should consult the NHCP before implementing a project that would affect heritage structures.

The DPWH wants to construct a 1.14-kilometer (km) flyover along P. del Rosario St. (from Osmeña Blvd. to D. Jakosalem St.) and a 1.26-km flyover on N. Bacalso Ave. (from Mambaling flyover to the corner of Leon Kilat St.).

Construction of these flyovers involve the widening of the streets by 1.25 meters on both sides.

The university said the proposed P. del Rosario flyover will not only affect the Dingman building, but will also block important visual corridors, compromise pedestrian access, and demolish a part of the university’s historic fabric.

The USC also cited in its position paper various international resolutions from different international organizations on preserving heritage landscape.

“Therefore, the project violates both local and international laws on heritage conservation and will only result in debasing its heritage value while showing disrespect to the structure’s uniqueness in Cebu,” the USC stated.

The university pointed out that the project was not listed among the projects proposed in the Jica roadmap.

The roadmap emphasized that measures to maximize existing infrastructure facilities should be done first and building hard engineering solutions, like flyovers, should be the last resort.

The university also pointed out that Jica proposed prioritizing alternative modes of transportation, including improvements of public transportation systems.

The proposed flyover project does not align with such goal as it does not introduce a new mode or system of public transportation, the university argued.

“At best, they are mere palliatives, temporary solutions to traffic problems that are then moved further from where these will be built,” the USC stated.

The Regional Development Council (RDC) Central Visayas recently adopted a committee resolution seeking the suspension of the conduct of the P105-million detailed engineering design (DED) study for the proposed flyover projects. (JJL)