Transport and security officials yesterday inspected the Mactan Cebu International Airport facilities in relation to the coming visit of Pope Francis in the country and the holding of the Sinulog. Officials said the pope’s flight will be diverted to Cebu only in the event of bad weather in Tacloban.

Arguments have broken out over the P7 minimum PUJ fare in routes where drivers have reportedly been “under-charging.” Transportation officials, meanwhile, told commuters to report those who do not follow the P7 minimum fare that took effect Tuesday.

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Here are the top Cebu news stories today, January 14, 2014.

Looming bad weather won’t stop papal visit; Pope’s plane to be diverted to Mactan if bad weather stops it from landing in Tacloban

Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Emilio Abaya and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin lead an inspection of the Mactan Cebu International Airport yesterday.

“Cebu is a major hub so we are checking on the airport and the seaports to eliminate all possible threats and any distractions both to the Sinulog and Tacloban, and of course the activities of the Pope.” — DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya.

Abaya stressed there are no changes in Pope’s itinerary.

“The itinerary is very clear… Cebu is not included. It is clear that all the Pope’s activities will be in Manila and Tacloban. There is no activity here… sorry to be the bearer of bad news.” — Abaya said.

He said the MCIA will be an alternative airport for the papal visit “only in the event of foul weather.”

PAPAL VISIT. Pope Francis will be in the Philippines this week. (Creative Commons photo by the Catholic Church of England)

PAPAL VISIT. Pope Francis will be in the Philippines this week. (Creative Commons photo by the Catholic Church of England)

The weather agency is sending a mobile radar system to Tacloban City to better keep track of weather conditions during the pope’s visit.

“There is a tendency that the tropical cyclone will pass by Eastern Visayas area in time for the Papal visit. As early as Friday, they will experience rains. In Cebu, light rains and strong winds will be felt this Friday.” — Pag-asa Visayas Director Oscar Tabada.

New PUJ minimum fare triggers arguments; LTFRB tells commuters to report violators

“Heated arguments between passengers and drivers marked the first day of the implementation of the new minimum fare for public utility jeepneys in Central Visayas,” The Freeman reported today.

The paper said the arguments broke out in routes where drivers claim to have been undercharging for some time. A transport union official cited as example the MEPZ 1, Lapu-Lapu City to JCentre Mall, Mandaue City route where drivers collect only P9 as fare instead of the P10 based on the distance. Drivers wanted to keep the charge but passengers insisted that it be lowered.

The transport union will ask the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to measure the length of the routes and check whether the fares should be adjusted.

LTFRB 7 Acting Director Rey Elnar, meanwhile, asked commuters to report violations on the minimum fare.

DOTC approves new bus routes for Metro Cebu

The Department of Transportation and Communication has approved the Talisay-Mambaling, Talisay-North Bus Terminal, Talisay-Mactan Cebu Airport and North Bus Terminal-Mambaling routes.

The new routes are under the High Quality Public Transport System that is meant to be an interim solution to the Bus Rapid Transit system that will start operation in 2018. SM Prime Holdings Inc. proposed to operate a bus service from Talisay City Hall to MCIAA in preparation for the opening of the SM Seaside City Complex in the middle of this year.

Based on the agreement, 69 buses will be deployed to “serve the demand and fulfill service requirements” for the first year of operations, The Freeman reported.

COLORFUL COSTUMES. Sinulog contingents are garbed in colorful native costumes. (Photo by Ted Espinueva)

COLORFUL COSTUMES. Sinulog contingents are garbed in colorful native costumes. (Photo by Ted Espinueva)

8 downtown roads closed to vehicles starting tomorrow until Sunday

Eight major roads in downtown Cebu City will be closed to vehicles starting tomorrow until Sunday as part of the Cebu City Government’s “pedestrianization” program. The roads include M.C. Briones, D. Jakosalem, Lapu-Lapu, Burgos, Legaspi Extension, Mabini Extension, Manalili, and Magallanes streets.

“Now, everyone is encouraged to walk just like people in Rome when the image of Blessed Pedro Calungsod was brought for canonization. They did it there and so we can. We will do it here.” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Rama said he wants to check how the closure will work with a test run this afternoon.

“Pedestrianization will address the issue of preservation and decongestion of traffic. There would be avoidance of the continuity persistence of vehicle movement, which may affect the structural integrity of our historical infrastructures.” — Rama

More Cebu news stories:

Business

DTI says consumer goods likely to drop by March

The plunge in the price of oil in the global market will lead to lower prices of basic goods late next month or early March, the Department of Trade and Industry said.

DTI-7 Director Asteria Caberte said prices will not immediately go down because producers normally have a three-month inventory of their products.

“We really expect the decrease in prices may be in March. Atong inventory level man gud is usually three months.” — Caberte.

Property developments:

Sun.Star Cebu: Developer tops off Horizons 101, tallest building in Visayas and Mindanao

 

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