Economy

Ferry route of Megawide’s Cebu project questioned

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

TRANSPORTATION Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said on Wednesday that his department will review Megawide Construction Corp.’s planned ferry system with a route from the Carbon Market, which it is currently redeveloping, to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport after a lawmaker raised concerns from vendors opposed to the project.

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France L. Castro said during a House budget hearing on Wednesday that the project should not be implemented until issues with the affected vendors are resolved.

She said that the vendors are worried about being displaced and that a “win-win solution” is needed.

“Can we request that the DoTr (Department of Transportation) suspend consideration of the ferry route until and unless local concerns are resolved?” Ms. Castro asked Mr. Tugade during the hearing.

“With that manifestation, we will review and look at the ferry route, and we will talk to the stakeholders,” Mr. Tugade said.

Mr. Tugade delegated Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Steven C. Pastor the task of meeting with stakeholders to discuss how they can reach an agreement on the project.

Sought for comment, Megawide said in a statement sent to BusinessWorld that its ferry terminal project is pegged to be operational in at least two years’ time.

“It will provide a direct connection from Carbon to the Mactan Cebu International Airport so that passengers can avoid the heavy traffic from the city to Mactan Island. An integrated transport terminal, including land and water connections, is a vital part of the project and will greatly improve mobility for passengers in the area,” it added.

Megawide also said it is still studying the viability of possible routes,” which should also go through all the proper consultations and processes before launch.

The project is part of Megawide’s redevelopment of the Cebu Carbon Market.

“Megawide stands firm to its commitment that all vendors are protected by the joint venture agreement. We reiterate that 100% of registered vendors will be accommodated. The new market facility will even have more total floor area than the current market — and that’s because each vendor will now have the appropriate space and individual connections they need,” the company said.

“To date, we have already presented the stall designs and locations to vendor leaders and they have already submitted their inputs, which have been incorporated in the project plan. These include the rental rates for Carbon, for which there will be no upward adjustments. In fact, we are offering wider and better space at more affordable rates compared to the prevailing market rates,” it added.

The company said it is coordinating with stakeholders, especially the local government of Cebu, involved in the project. “As such, we will adhere to the instructions of the local government unit and market authority regarding the work and timelines.”

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