President Rodrigo Duterte claims the best solution to Cebu’s “horrendous” traffic is to build not only flyovers but also trains.
Although he did not specify any project, his campaign financier, bilyonaryo Dennis Uy, has a pending proposal with the National Economic and Development Authority to build a P78.9 billion monorail train system to serve Cebu’s nearly three million residents.
“The problem that you are facing here now is your mobility. Traffic is horrendous. The only way to do it is by utilizing a small commuter train and more highways. I will help you secure a loan for that,” said Duterte in a speech during the Sinulog Festival in Cebu.
“But it won’t be long because you have plans for that. Many politicians here have their own ideas. So I will tell you now that I will overhaul all of them. Because if I do not interfere, you will just keep on fighting. So I will be the one to oversee that things get done. I will look for money. That is my promise,” he added.
Uy’s includes a 17-kilometer central line snaking from Talisay City to Cebu City and another 9-kilometer line from the Mactan Cebu International Airport to Cebu City. Uy had originally proposed a ligh rail transit system for Cebu but downgraded to a monorail which was cheaper by half.
Uy’s project is backed by Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella, Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas, and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino. Cebu is reportedly roughly P1.1 billion daily in 2019 due to traffic or more than double the P500 million annual loss threeyears ago.
Duterte said while Cebu was a progressive city, the transportation crisis was the biggest stumbling block to further growth.
“The only problem here is your transportation. Mobility is difficult because of how old the city is. And we can’t expand or build larger buildings because … is it called easement? It’s like a margin in terms of paper. So find a way to fix that. You should follow Manila. You cannot expand anymore. And even if you — well except for trains. If you could make it a mass transportation, that would be better. Only few will be able to do that. But it’s either train or flyovers,” said Duterte.
“Just a simple commuter train. Just like Taiwan if you have been there. It has a small train that runs across the city. If you start working on trains now, you may be able to complete it in two years.If you already have plans, push through with it. But if you still don’t have plans for that, I don’t know how you would… You just keep on fighting over the roads. You can start with a railroad commuter and then build new roads above it,” he added.