Intramuros to become pedestrian-friendly, underground cabling stalled


(Photo by Pamela Ann Bangayan) Picturesque Manila Cathedral. The view of Manila Cathedral after the overhead cables in front of those were decluttered.
Inset: (Photo courtesy of Intramuros Administration) Inset photo shows utility cables being decluttered.

By Pamela Ann C. Bangayan

Almost a year after Intramuros Administration (IA) kicked-off its underground cabling project in Plaza Roma, the next phase is to bury all utility cables in Calle Aduana underground, as well as other tourist spots inside the historic district of Manila, with the hope to make the walled city more picturesque.

IA Architect Ramil Tibayan said that the said project is actually part of the 1991 Urban Development plan of the administration. However, it was only last year that underground cabling embarked and it was Manila Cathedral that was prioritized in line with the preparation for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2015 in the country.

When started, the end-goal of IA, as an attached agency of Department of Tourism (DOT), is to attract more tourists in visiting Intramuros and to make them further appreciate the historic place by removing the eye soring overhead cables. Moreover, the administration eyes to make the district pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, hence, develop a less-polluted Intramuros.

Although not yet started the rehabilitation of A. Soriano Avenue or Calle Aduana is already being handled by Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, another agency under DOT, and is estimated to consume one or two years of construction.

On the other hand, Tibayan said in an interview with The Millennials’ Guild that this is not a kind of project where we can expect immediate results for this is a big task that requires a huge budget and a lot of factors are stalling the project, one of those is the latter.

“There may be a problem on the procurement process. Hindi ko talaga masabi kung ano ba yung nakakapag stall sa project na ito. Mahirap pagplanuhan dahil maraming involve. Hindi lang naman ito kuryente kundi pati ang drainage, telephone companies, and water supply since we are also planning to renew the streetscapes,” Tibayan said when asked about what he thinks are the factors stalling the project.

Another reason, according to an Inquirer interview with IA Chief Marco Antonio Luisito Sardillo III, is that the project is a “nightmare” since Intramuros already has existing development compared to the case of Bonifacio Global City which started “completely blank.”

Aside from Plaza Roma and Calle Aduana, other priority areas for development include Magallanes Drive, General Luna, Padre Burgos and other main thoroughfares of Intramuros.