Despite maintaining a reputation for being “clean”—i.e, no whiff of irregularity or anomalies to his person though his critics have pointed to his tolerance and failure to sanction those officials around him who were accused of questionable dealings — Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III is not known for being a visionary.
This perhaps can be seen in his insistence to keep the P1.5 billion 20-storey building within the Capitol compound amid concerns from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) that the proposed structure will tower over the Capitol building which is considered a historical landmark.
The governor assured that adjustments will be made to avoid this situation and he politely but firmly rejected a proposal from heritage advocate Jobers Bersales (a Cebu Daily News columnist) to relocate the building outside Metro Cebu.
Bersales also suggested that the Capitol building be transformed into a center for tourism and culture, something the governor decided wasn’t as important as a building that will provide services to the province’s constituents who are mostly located outside Metro Cebu.
To be sure, unless there is substantial evidence of irregularity or non-compliance with existing laws and guidelines, there is very little argument if at all for building a provincial one-stop shop services office.
We don’t know if the governor realized this or chose to ignore it, but it was former Cebu Governor Lito Osmeña that lobbied for moving the Capitol outside of Metro Cebu as Bersales pointed out in his March 7, 2018 column.
Aside from the practical reason of helping to decongest traffic in Cebu City by sparing the bulk of the Capitol’s constituents the expense and inconvenience of traveling to the Queen City of the South, relocating the proposed Provincial Services building or the Capitol or both will fully realize the province’s mandate and responsibility of reaching out and bringing itself closer to the people of Cebu.
Then again, former Governor Osmeña had publicly expressed his disapproval of Davide whom he criticized for lacking foresight.
Whether or not this disapproval had in any way influenced Governor Davide to insist on keeping the P1.5 billion building in the Capitol compound one can only speculate.
The only definite assurance the incumbent governor can give is that his administration will comply with the NHCP’s request to modify the building’s design.
As to the wisdom of keeping the building within the Capitol compound is concerned, maybe it’s up to the province’s constituents to determine whether or not it is the right choice come next year’s elections.
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