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COBONPUE: ROAD ‘PEDESTRIANIZATION’ TO BOOST TOURISM, ECONOMY



ROAD PEDESTRIANIZATION. World-class furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, co-chair of Central Visayas' Regional Development Council, hails the plan to "pedestrianize" roads at Cebu City's cultural and historical sites. The plan, proposed by the National Economic and Development Authority, also aims to address the highly urbanized city's worsening traffic woes, Cobonpue said in an interview in Cebu City on Wednesday (Dec. 5, 2018). (File photo from Kenneth Cobonpue's Facebook page)

CEBU CITY -- Co-chair of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 (Central Visayas) Kenneth Cobonpue has welcomed the plan to "pedestrianize" this city's cultural and historical sites, saying this will be a big boost not only to Cebu City's image but also to the local economy.

Cobonpue, a world-renowned furniture designer, said the plan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 7) to ban vehicles in the city center will also make a big transformation to the city streets, which have become narrow and congested due to vehicular traffic.

"Almost every city in Europe adopts an area, where vehicles are off limits and the people are just walking from one point to another," he said in an interview here Wednesday.

Some big cities in Asia prohibit cars, he said, adding that some of Shanghai's shopping centers are in areas where cars are not allowed.

"That's their main shopping center. If ever implemented here, both locals and tourists will just walk and shop in malls that are just found along the road," he said.

Cobonpue pointed out that to allow pedestrians to dominate the roads is to give a boost to local tourism.

Promenades and covered walkways are tourist attractions in themselves, he said.

"Time will come that the people will feel there is no more need for cars in visiting these (pedestrianized) areas," he added.

The RDC-7 co-chair said the plan may not materialize overnight, but he believes people will learn to adopt new trends, and that pedestrianization will become their new way of life.

Earlier, NEDA-7 Regional Director Efren Carreon told mayors and other government officials in a conference here Tuesday that his office is commissioning a study seeking to “pedestrianize” cultural and historical sites in this city as a way to address road traffic woes.

In a phone interview, Carreon told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that NEDA-7 is already in the procurement stage in hiring a group of consultants who will undertake the study.

“Consultants will come from within (the Philippines),” Carreon said. “We are about to award the contract.”

The study will cost PHP3.5 million, he said. (PNA)

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