228 trees within Cebu City BRT route to be earth-balled

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A TOTAL of 228 trees will be earthballed in Cebu City to give way to the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project.

Based on the information provided by the office of Councilor Joel Garganera on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, the earth-balling activity, which is being done in Cebu City, will include 223 Indian and five Ficus Trees.

Lawyer Aliko Garganera, the city councilor’s daughter and executive assistant, said their office reviewed and approved the request of the BRT Project head to uproot the trees. The older Garganera is currently the chairman of the City Council’s committee on environment and natural resources.

The younger Garganera said that one of the conditions imposed was that the trees should be “transferred within its original vicinity, if practicable, to preserve the biodiversity in the area.”

The affected trees are located along with the Package 1 Civil Works of the BRT project, which included the route from Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT), to Osmeña Boulevard and to the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

In a separate interview, Engineer Norvin Imbong, the head of the BRT Project, said the earth-balling of trees in the center island is necessary since the dedicated lanes for the buses will be placed there.

Imbong added that the transfer of trees is also part of the project’s greening program.

For every tree that will be removed, the BRT project team will be planting 100 trees in other locations, said Imbong.

According to Imbong, they have already downloaded P17.5 million to the Cebu City Government as funds for the earth-balling of the trees.

Engineer Editha Peros of the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office said the uprooted trees will be transferred to block 27 of the North Reclamation Area.

BRT’s progress

Imbong said they were done with the opening of bids last May 13 and now they are in the process of evaluating the bids for their compliance with the requirements and qualifications.

Should there be no hindrances or delays, the notice to proceed for Package 1 of the BRT Project may be awarded this August 2022, according to Imbong.

Imbong further said the winning civil works contractor will be given one year to finish the first package of the project.

Package 2 of the BRT is composed of the routes from the South Road Properties (SRP) to the CSBT and another route from Capitol to IT Park in Barangay Lahug.

Package 3 will include the routes from Talisay City to Barangay Mambaling, Talisay City to SRP, and IT Park to Barangay Talamban.

The cost for the entire construction of the BRT Project is P16.309 billion, Imbong said.

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