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Cebu BRT project put on hold

MANILA-- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has put on hold the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System to conduct further review of the project.

The DOTr believes that a review must be undertaken and that concerns raised must be addressed, so as not to cast any doubt on the integrity of the project, the DoTr said in a statement.

Rest assured that the decision to be made will be anchored on the DOTr's aim to enhance mobility and connectivity in the country, and to put the convenience of the riding public, on topmost priority, it added.

Meanwhile, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) clarified that Director General Ernesto Pernia cannot by himself, put the BRT project on hold, much less scrapped in favor of the Cebu-LRT Subway project.

In a statement, NEDA said that Pernia, in a recent press conference held in Cebu last August 4, was asked regarding the status of the project vis a vis the LRT project proposed by Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Dino.

Pernia responded that the Cebu BRT project is nearing implementation and is already in the advanced stages of approval, while a feasibility study has yet to be submitted for the Cebu LRT project to DoTr and NEDA.

The NEDA chief only learned the proposal for a hybrid LRT-Subway project from Dino in a meeting held at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel after the press conference, the NEDA statement said.

Pernia personally found this proposal conceptually better than the BRT, given the narrow streets of Cebu City. However, Pernia clarified that the LRT-Subway proposal will still have to undergo the rigorous and long processes of project proposal and approval, the statement read.

The project proposal includes an LRT line that runs from the south of Cebu (outside the city), and transitions into a subway line traversing the Cebu City Center. It then shifts again into an LRT line going north of the city.

NEDA made the clarification after reports said Pernia decided to suspend the project implementation, as it reassured it is committed in upholding standard practices and appropriate processes for all infrastructure project proposals in the country.

As standard practice for all big-ticket public projects, proposals are brought to the concerned line agency with a completed Feasibility Study (FS). Should FS findings show the projects' economic viability, these proposals will be thoroughly evaluated by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) Technical Board prior to the NEDA ICC Cabinet Committee, then the NEDA Board for final approval, NEDA said.

The stalled project is envisioned to be a 23-kilometer BRT corridor (Bulacao-Ayala-Talamban) with segregated busways from Bulacao to Ayala and a link to Cebu's South Road Property.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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