The proposed transport system development of Metro Cebu Development and Coordination Board (MCDCB) is gaining traction.
A team from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Infrastructure and Peacebuilding Department, Urban and Regional Development Group was sent to Cebu for a “contact mission”.
This is related to the Master Plan Study on Urban Transport System Development in Urban Metro Cebu and the Project for Strengthening the Capacity for Urban Development of Metro Cebu.
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) President Roberto Aboitiz said traffic management in the Metro Cebu area is the paramount concern.
“We need to deliver. Let’s not get to that point like in today’s newspaper report that it takes a person in Manila one day to get home,” he said.
Aboitiz is the co-chair of Governor Hilario P. Davide III in the MCDCB, representing the private sector. The other co-chair (public sector) of MCDCB is Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who was represented by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella during the meeting with JICA last September 10 at the Capitol.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Mark Tolentino represented Davide who was in Lapu-Lapu City together with President Benigno S. Aquino for the APEC meetings.
Yuzurio Susumi, director of Infrastructure and Peacebuilding Department, briefed the MCDCB about their contact mission and its scope.
They were acting on the request of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to proceed with their earlier study that became the framework of the Mega Cebu Vision 2050.
On urban transport master plan (MP), the objectives of the contact mission include reviewing the transport component of the Mega Cebu Road Map (RM) 2050, getting updates on the transport sector in Mega Cebu and institutional structures for RM implementation and discussing the scope of the project requested by the DOTC and outputs necessary to realize the RM.
Susumi also spoke about the necessity of a legislative fiat of MCDCB in the implementation stage. He said that since JICA deals only with government, they could not deal with MCDCB at this stage because it is not yet a duly constituted state.
However, an alternative approach was also presented to continue JICA’s assistance.
This includes choosing projects in the RM, which are administered by the local government units and government agencies.
Susumi also stated that with firm commitments of partner organizations,
JICA may be able to conduct technical cooperation in urban transport management as a part of transportation master plan formulation project.
The transport master plan does not deal only with traffic management, although Aboitiz said that they should find innovative solutions to the traffic jam in the metro as soon as possible.
The transport master plan also includes the development of LRT/MRT as well as the Automated Guideway Transit.
Evelyn Nacario-Castro, executive director of RAFI-Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center, said the MCDCB technical working group is currently working on the third draft of proposed MCDCB bill.
She said this will be filed in Congress this October and if this will not be passed into law before election next year this will not be treated anymore as a “fresh bill” in the next Congress.
Aboitiz also stated that they hoped to get MCDCB in two to three years time.