Marcos in Cebu to break ground on BRT’s package 1, ‘Scud’ project

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will be in Cebu on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023, to grace several government-initiated projects.

It will be the President’s first visit to the island since winning the presidency in the May 2022 general elections.

The local police will deploy more than 600 personnel including civilian volunteers to secure the President’s visit.

First on President Marcos’ itinerary is the groundbreaking of the first package of the long-awaited Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project at the Fuente Osmeña Circle at 10 a.m.

The P17-billion CBRT is the first mass transport system that will be constructed in Cebu City to try and address the worsening traffic situation.

Construction was originally set to start in 2016, but was delayed several times due to multiple issues that included road right-of-way and changes in design and routes.

Scud project

At 11 a.m., Marcos will head to the South Road Properties (SRP) for the groundbreaking of the Phase 1 of Cebu City Government’s South Coastal Urban Development (Scud) project, which includes medium-rise buildings (MRBs) for families displaced by the City’s clearing of structures built within the three-meter easement of the eight major waterways.

The City has partnered with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) for the Scud project.

Phase 1 of the Scud project covers 30 hectares of the 60-hectare land area across the SRP, according to Cerwin Eviota, the special assistant to Mayor Michael Rama on communications.

Five hectares will be developed under the DHSUD, while the remaining 25 hectares are under the Cebu City Government.

Eviota said the 20-story, high-rise buildings that will house a total of 8,000 units will be constructed under Phase 1, a portion of which the DHSUD will finance.

The MRBs, he said, that the City will source funds for are four to five stories tall with at least 100 units each. These include the pledges to finance one MRB each by so far eight of the country’s major developers — Arthaland, Ayala Land, Deca Homes, DMCI Homes, Filinvest Land, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Robinsons Land Corp. and SM Prime Holdings Inc.

The Scud project is the offshoot of the memorandum of understanding signed last November 2022 between the City and the DHSUD to construct around 30,000 housing units as part of the national government’s program to address the housing backlog, the Cebu City Public Information Office (PIO) reported.

The PIO reported that DHSUD Undersecretary Garry de Guzman said each housing unit will cost around P1.15 million. With 30,000 units committed, the DHSUD support is valued at P33.45 billion.

Under the current market rate of six percent interest, housing beneficiaries will pay around P6,500 per month for a period of 30 years in order to own their unit. But with the national government’s subsidy, the interest rate will be reduced to only one percent, bringing their monthly amortization to only P3,500.

In the afternoon, President Marcos will lead the distribution of cash aid at the Mandaue City Sports and Cultural Complex.

Security preparations

According to Col. Ireneo Dalogdog, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) director, 500 uniformed personnel will be stationed along the roads and serve as area security. They will be joined by 150 personnel from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion, which is headed by Colonel Ronan Claravall.

Aside from the Fuente Osmeña Circle and the SRP, the President will also go to the Capitol compound.

Dalogdog said members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) will protect the President inside the rotunda, while personnel of the CCPO will be assigned outside the Capitol compound and personnel of the Cebu Police Provincial Office will be inside the compound.

On Sunday, Feb. 26, police and the PSG conducted a security check along Osmeña Blvd.

“Duna tay walk through nga pagahimuon sa Fuente Osmeña, sa SRP pud kay kini maoy mga area nga adtuon sa Presidente. Wala ta mo kompyansa bisan naay daghang police. Ato gyud sigurohon nga secure si PBBM,” Dalogdog said.

(We will conduct a walk through at Fuente Osmeña and at the SRP since the President will be at both places. Even though there will be many police personnel on the streets we will not drop our guard. We will ensure the President will be secure during his visit.)

One of the concerns raised during the coordinating conference with members of the Presidential Management Staff, Police Regional Office in Central Visayas and the PSG was the buildings near the venues.

He said he expects many people to show up for the groundbreaking ceremony, which will be attended by several government officials from Central Visayas.

The CCPO director said that although they didn’t receive any threats against the President, they didn’t discount the possibility that members of militant groups might stage protests. (KAL, AYB / PJB)