Margot to pursue BRT if she becomes mayor

MAYORALTY candidate and former councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña will pursue the implementation of the long overdue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project should she be elected mayor of Cebu City.In a press conference at Harolds Hotel Wednesday, five days before the May 9, 2022 elections, Osmeña also talked about her plans to address traffic, waste management and disaster resiliency.Osmeña faces Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Councilor David Tumulak and three other contenders for the post of mayor.Osmeña said she will review all the documents of the BRT project to find out why it remains pending years after it was proposed.According to the former city councilor, the BRT project is already there and is just waiting to be implemented.Last Feb. 8, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) posted the invitation to bid for the construction of infrastructure from Capitol to the Cebu South Bus Terminal and an enhancement of the link to the Cebu port that would form part of the BRT project. But April came and went with no updates from the agencies despite the indicated deadline of the invitation to bid expiring that month.The Cebu BRT project obtained funding of $198 million (P10.189 billion) from the French government through Agence Française de Développement; the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the lending arm of the World Bank Group; and the Clean Technology Fund administered by the World Bank, in 2014 yet.Osmeña said looking for other mass transport systems like the Light Rail Transit and monorail will be another long process.“With all the comments and with all the corrections being made by different people and with the promise that there will be an LRT and monorail, it is two years (already). Where is it? Not even a shadow, not even a study,” said Osmeña.The BRT is part of the Integrated Intermodal Transportation System in Cebu initiated by the DOTr that targets to integrate the BRT, monorail system and cable car system.Advanced traffic lights that can detect the flow of vehicles are also being eyed by Osmeña to solve the congestion in the city.Disaster responseAfter the lessons of Typhoon Odette (Rai) that devastated Cebu on Dec. 16, 2021, Osmeña said the city should have a command center that can be used for efficient response during calamities.Barangay volunteers should also be trained, especially in operating equipment necessary for rescue operations, she added.Osmeña said all necessary preparations should be in place before calamities strike.The local government unit has already identified vulnerable areas in the city, so preemptive measures should be in place already, said Osmeña.Waste managementOsmeña lamented that many rivers and creeks in the city were already gone due to heavy garbage pollution.Omeña voiced plans to place more garbage bins in the city to prevent people from just throwing their trash anywhere.Though this is a very basic solution, Osmeña said this will educate the public on the proper disposal of their garbage.“That is very basic. That is very elementary. Of course, it does not solve the problem of flooding of drainage, but we start with that, education,” said Osmeña.Following the controversy that arose because of the photograph of shanties that placed the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) in the background, Osmeña said the government should coordinate with the management of CCLEX for a joint program.“It does look ugly. But you do not do things because they look ugly; you do things because you are going to help the people,” said Osmeña.Osmeña added that the company that built the CCLEX will be willing to help in improving the lives of the community near their infrastructure.The P33 billion CCLEX, commonly referred to as the Third Bridge, is a project of the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp. under a joint venture agreement with the local government units of Cebu City and Municipality of Cordova.