JICA PROJECTS IMPLEMENTATION NEEDS COLLABORATION: EXPERT
JICA PROJECTS. Consultants from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and executives from different national government agencies and representatives from local government agencies discuss the draft transportation master plan for Metro Cebu on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, at the Cebu Provincial Capitol Social Hall. (Photo contributed by Titus Borromeo/OPAV)
CEBU CITY – Both national and local government officials must work hand in hand in implementing a wide array of projects recommended in the draft master plan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a transport expert said on Wednesday.
Engineer Rene Santiago told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the draft master plan presented to the Cebuanos in a workshop on Tuesday afternoon is a well-prepared and comprehensive framework of transportation plan for Metro Cebu.
“The phasing and staging of the projects have to be reviewed, they have to be rooted in the reality on the ground,” he said in Filipino.
Santiago, who is a consultant with JICA, is a specialist in transport and urban planning in the Philippines since the 1970s. He was part of the team involved in the Study on Standardization for Integrated Railway Network of Metro Manila in 2001, and in the JICA Dream Plan in 2013.
He said national government agencies must collaborate with local government units to avoid traffic congestion in areas that will be affected by the projects.
“Hindi dapat pagsabay-sabayin ang projects, or else magkaka-trapik sa Cebu (Projects must not be implemented at the same time, or else there will traffic in Cebu),” Santiago said.
He also said the urban mass rapid transit (UMRT) that has a north-to-south alignment would address the demand for more mass transport in the metro.
“Geographically, we don’t have a choice because Cebu, as a coastal metropolis, there is not enough space for more capacity. Kaya rail tayo dito (That’s why, rail fits here),” Santiago added.
The implementation of the projects must be planned to avoid congestion in the affected areas, he said.
Titus Borromeo, representative of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), also told PNA that the projects being pushed under the master plan include the UMRT, road widening and opening, fourth bridge connecting mainland Cebu to Mactan Island, route plan for public utility jeepneys (PUJ), expressway, and creation of a traffic body for Metro Cebu.
Included in the recommended action plan is the “geometric improvements of intersections” that will boost traffic flow in certain areas of the metro, he said.
Borromeo said that institutional challenges in implementing transport-related projects must be addressed.
“There are problems related to public works and highways, which can be solved right away because we have a regional office of the DPWH,” he said.
“But when the problem is about transportation like rail, bus, and the peripheral issues on traffic will be left hanging because we don’t have a DOTr regional office in Central Visayas,” Borromeo said. (PNA)