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Sec. Singson: MCDCB has Malacañang’s back

| by: Stanley Cin

With assured support from the National Government, the Cebuanos’ dream of a livable and sustainable Cebu is a step closer to reality.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson said they will consider the proposals of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board, the body behind the Mega Cebu Vision 2050, for the 2016 budget.

Singson added that he has been pushing for the completion of the Mega Cebu 2050 roadmap study to identify the critical points high priority projects.

“In 2011, our budget was Php 3 billion. In 2015, that has gone up to 7.2 billion. What we’re proposing is that these levels of infrastructure investments in Cebu be sustained at the level of about Php 8 to 10 billion annually. Now what goes into that budget is going to be what you’ll agree on in these workshops,” he said.

Singson attended the presentation of the final draft report of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Study Team on the Roadmap Study for Sustainable Urban Development in Metro Cebu.

This was deliberated by the members of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (Board) last April 10 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu City.

Governor Hilario P. Davide III, who chaired the MCDCB, thanked Singson for his presence.

“We hope that the National Government, through you, would accept all these recommendations and endorse these projects,” he said.

The proposed projects in the Mega Cebu 2050 roadmap include short term, medium and long term projects.

JICA identifies 10 flagship programs that are recommended for early implementation in three years time (2015-2017).

These are the master plan and feasibility study for mass transit network, update of the integrated development master plan of Cebu Province, study for an integrated flood and drainage system, feasibility study on port construction, solid waste management master plan, area traffic control, and the establishment of Technical Research Unit to MCDCB and its Capacity Development.

The other three infrastructure projects that were also recommended for immediate implementation include the construction of the Mactan North Dual-Mode Bridge, construction of Mananga II, and construction and networking of septage plants.

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) 7 Director Efren Carreon also stated that the National Government could not approve all the proposed projects of the MCDCB because of limited resources.

However, these could be funded by foreign sources especially if the projects involve big amount of money and through Public-Private Partnership.

As for the septage and sewerage projects water, Singson informed that the National Government has offered 40 to 60 percent subsidies for related projects but there were no takers.

The secretary also stated that they are ready to provide the initial capital to build the Mananga II dam. However, they need to lay out a scheme to recover the expenses of the project, which is estimated to cost around Php 5 billion.

Singson also stated that the Cebuanos and its public officials should decide how to move forward after establishing the roadmap development plans.

He said Cebu should have an institution like the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to carry the Mega Cebu Vision 2050 forward.

MCDCB is a metro-wide planning and development body composed of local chief executives of the 13-member cities and towns, business groups and the academe. However, its creation is not supported by legislative measure like the MMDA.

The Mega Cebu 2050 development strategy is anchored on four visions: Mobility, Competitiveness, Metropolitan Management, and Livability.

“We (National Government) are ready to support a meaningful and sustainable program to make Cebu livable,” he said.

The MCDCB will also present the master plan to NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balicasan, member of the President’s economic think-tank.

Dominica Chua, chief operating officer of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation and MCDCB-Research Program and Organizational Development vice chair, said Cebu’s master plan has the opportunity to pass through attention of the President.