Travelling around Cebu? You might soon be able to take a scenic route! There’s a proposal for a 300-kilometer major highway that connects the Cebu’s travel destinations to Mactan. Initially estimated to cost P56 billion, the project includes the Medellin-Daanbantayan Road, Serging Osmeña Boulevard Port Corridor, and Mactan Circumferential Road and connects Daanbantayan to the southernmost part of Cebu, Santander. Toll-collection will be required to pass through the route.
Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino said that the trans-axial highway would lessen the travel time between tourist spots, especially those located in areas far from the metro. He cited the popular beaches of Bantayan Island as an example which takes a 3-4 hour bus ride plus another hour on a boat. A trip to Camotes Island from Danao City takes a minimum of 2-hour boat ride. The planned highway would cut the travel time by half.
This proposal has been discussed and considered over the recent years since former Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia envisioned it. Recently, it was believed that the project would take form when Governor Hilario Davide III organized a technical working committee (TWC) in charge of realizing the project and inviting private firms to partner with for the endeavor.
Though there was news that a Malaysian firm and a Korean company, ultimately, the project was unsuccessful in attracting partners. People working behind the project are working on rebranding the project, including a new name. But at the governor’s last State of the Province Address, he said that the project was “not feasible at this time” and required further study as to its economic benefits against the costs of implementing it.
Costs were reevaluated and now are estimated to total P93.726 billion as of last year, 2014. There are now doubts as to whether projected toll collections would be able to cover the costs. If the amount is predicted as not enough, guess we’ll have to wait before we can take a drive on the scenic route or have a faster way of reaching Bantayan.
But what does this mean for the supposedly rosy future of local tourism? Would this be the only factor affected? Are there any other benefits to the trans-axial highway that we’re missing out on? Are there alternatives we’re not looking at? These are some questions that we, people of Cebu, should consider.