Malilong: Del Mar reports

Frank Malilong

CEBU City North District Congressman Raul V. Del Mar has announced that public works projects totaling P3.02 billion pesos will be implemented in Cebu City starting this year. Most of the projects are intended to address the city’s worsening traffic situation through the construction of skyways and tunnels in three of the most congested road sections, he said in an email to me yesterday.

The first skyway/tunnel will run from Gorordo Ave. to Osmeña Ave. near the pier area passing through Salinas Drive and Juan Luna Ave. The other one extends from F. Sotto Drive through Archbishop Reyes Ave. and Gov. Cuenco Ave. all the way to Talamban.

These two projects alone will already cost P1.3 billion, P43.195 million of which have already been released, according to del Mar. They are due for completion in 2022. A planned third skyway/tunnel from Cardinal Rosales Ave. to F. Cabahug St., still has to be funded.

Del Mar said he would prefer either a tunnel or a skyway all the way, but will leave it to the DPWH to decide if a combination of both would be practical.

Del Mar’s other projects that are due for implementation this year include the construction of: a) Lahug-Guadalupe diversion road; b) a second building of the Cebu City North District Hospital at the Don Vicente Sotto Medical Center; c) the Guba campus of the Cebu Technological University; d) a NextGen Hub at Barangay Cogon-Ramos; e) a Centcom administration building and housing in Camp Lapulapu; and f) a regional police security and protection units building.

News on the construction of the long-delayed Lahug-Guadalupe diversion road this year should warm the heart of a former colleague of del Mar in Congress who now sits in the City Council.

Just the other day, I received a press statement from former Cebu City South District Rep. and incumbent Councilor Antonio Cuenco strongly urging the immediate construction of the Guadalupe-Lahug diversion road to alleviate the high volume of road congestion in the city’s uptown area.

Cuenco said the proposed road has four lanes and a length of 2.33 kms. from V. Rama Ave. in Guadalupe to Gorordo Ave. in Lahug, all costing P2.6 billion. “I hope that the road will officially commence next year,” he said.

(In case you’re wondering if there are two separate roads involved in the discussion, they’re actually talking about one and the same thoroughfare. Del Mar understandably prefers to call it the Lahug-Guadalupe road because Lahug is in his north district. In the same vein, Cuenco refers to it as Guadalupe-Lahug road because Guadalupe belongs to his south district.)

Anyway, instead of the P2.6 billion project cost mentioned by Cuenco, only P1 billion has been made available, according to del Mar. But Cuenco need not worry since the P1 billion is just the initial release. Hopefully, the project will be completed before his term ends in 2022, del Mar said.

Del Mar also disclosed that he has filed and re-filed in Congress over a period of 30 years a bill providing for a light rail transport system (LRT), or a Metro Rail Transport System (MRT) or a Monorail or a Subway Transport System or such other mass transport system that is appropriate for Cebu. However, no investor has submitted an unsolicited proposal for the project.

In contrast, another del Mar project--the construction of the second parallel runway of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport--is underway with the groundbreaking done only two weeks ago. Del Mar sought the construction of the additional runway through his House Bill 49, which the Lower House approved on final reading in May last year.

I thank del Mar for giving me a copy of his accomplishment report. I wonder what the other Cebu congressmen have done so far.