Citom studies priests’ proposal to close road

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

AUGUSTINIAN priests have requested the Cebu City Government to close for three months the road near the Basilica del Sto. Niño bell tower that is undergoing reconstruction.

Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella said he is still waiting for the recommendation of the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) before submitting it to the City Council for approval.

“We have to wait for Citom’s report on that request. The priests are concerned about the danger the reconstruction work poses on the motorists and pedestrians. It’s very risky because I think they are now working on the topmost part of the belfry, that’s why they want the road closed for three months,” Labella said.


The church’s bell tower collapsed after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Cebu last Oct. 15.

Even before the Citom Board tackles the request, the office has prepared a traffic plan and gave recommendations to improve traffic flow in the area once the road is closed.

Closures, parking

Citom Executive Director Rafael Yap said Legaspi St., which is parallel to Osmeña Blvd., will not be open for pay parking since all vehicles passing by Osmeña Blvd. will be diverted to Legaspi.

Parking on Jakosalem St. will also have to be prohibited so both lanes can be used.

Labella said he welcomes any closure of roads in that area because it will give Citom a chance to conduct a study on how a permanent closure will affect traffic in the city.

The study will guide the Council in deliberating on a proposed ordinance that seeks to permanently keep cars off the roads surrounding the 400-year-old church.

Labella said he proposed the ordinance after the Augustinian priests at the basilica requested to make the roads around the church strictly for pedestrians to help preserve the church building.

“This has been the request of the Augustinians and other private individuals because the constant vibrations coming from vehicles endangers the structural integrity of the church, considering that it was built 400 years ago,” he said.

“Everybody agreed during the public hearing but the main concern that we have to look into carefully is the impact of a permanent closure on the traffic,” Labella continued.

Since road closures affect the public, all requests to close roads even for only one day needs the approval of the Citom Board and the City Council.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 21, 2014.

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