They also asked whether their cities would be included in the Mega Cebu plans.
One of the proponents of the Mega Cebu project said the proposal is assured of sustainability, considering it will be run by the private sector. This will make it less vulnerable to changes whenever new leaders are chosen in local elections.
But in a text message, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza expressed doubts the Mega Cebu proposal will work, given the present political set-up in Cebu.
While they are being urged to join, Radaza said her main concern is whether the proposals will lead to projects that will benefit her constituents.
“Wa man mi naki’g ija-ija (We don’t intend to be isolated and do things only on our own). What is important to me is how it will benefit our constituents,” she added.
Challenges like urbanization and the quality of life, as well as inadequate infrastructure and declining competitiveness, are among the areas a plan for Mega Cebu should address, business leader Roberto Aboitiz said in a forum last month.
The idea, he said, is to plan not just for Metro Cebu, but a larger region, possibly up to the cities of Carcar in the south and Danao in the north.
The plan would be good for the next 30 years, he added, and address challenges that cross boundaries, like reducing the risk of disasters and adapting to climate change.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said that while he supports the Mega Cebu project, he fears the proposal might end up like the now-defunct Metro Cebu Development Projects (MCDP).
He said that when MCDP was disbanded, infrastructure projects that were supposed to be place in Mandaue City also stopped. It was then the flooding worsened in the city over the years, he said.
Cortes said the succeeding development boards have not entirely solved problems in the local government units, such as traffic.
“Nindot ang atong damgo (That is a grand dream), but how can we expect cooperation, how can we have a unified traffic system if ang mga jeepneys sa Mandaue dili pasudlon sa Cebu City (Mandaue City’s jeepneys aren’t allowed into Cebu City)?” he added.
The mayor referred to the Cebu City Government’s decision to prevent Mandaue jeepneys from entering main roads, including downtown.
Cortes said that some mayors are considering the idea of letting national agencies, instead of politicians, the task of creating a good developmen handlet plan for Cebu.
These agencies include the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Businessman Bunny Pages, one of the members of the Metro Cebu Development Coordination Board (MCDCB), said there is an assurance of sustainability and permanence in the “Mega Cebu” plan, because members of the private sector will keep it together.
He said the project is not political, and thus less vulnerable to term limits imposed on local government officials.
Pages also said the Mega Cebu project is envisioned to remove the focus from individual local governments, and to encourage planners and officials to plan for Cebu as a whole.
“The project is aimed at contributing the expertise of the business and private sector in helping to improve Cebu,” Pages added. (Sun Star)