Political intramurals and transport alternatives
Though it appeared that he didn’t make a big deal out of it, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s statement that being snubbed and excluded from the meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and other local officials was a slap on the face of the Cebuanos may be objected to by his critics, all of whom are only too eager to see him unseated in next year’s election.
Of course the mayor and his ally in the province, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III join Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot as the officials who weren’t invited to the meeting that was supposedly arranged by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.
The OPAV, without naming names, clarified the non-invite to these officials by saying that the meeting with the President was attended by all barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials and no one else.
Doubtless, this is again a meeting to remind the recently elected barangay and SK officials to support the administration’s war against illegal drugs with a subtle hint at extending support to the government’s anointed local bets in next year’s elections.
At this point Mayor Osmeña is on the ball, as he admitted meeting with his barangay officials perhaps to circle the wagons so to speak during the same day the President invited them and other barangay officials last week.
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While the political intramurals make for good coffee shop talk, what matters to me and other Cebu-based residents are the recent pronouncements about a fourth Mandaue-Mactan bridge and the still uncertain fate of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
There had been no official confirmation of the BRT project being a go, but I did hear some local officials lobbying for its final approval from the President and a Facebook photo posted by former BRT project management office chief Raffy Yap that showed him meeting with transport officials presumably on the project.
While a fourth Mandaue-Mactan bridge project certainly won’t invite opposition, the BRT project’s fate had been up in the air following Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade’s official opposition to its implementation.
It’s also no coincidence that proponents of another mass transport project, the monorail, posted on their Facebook accounts a video of Tugade discussing mass transport alternatives during a public event yesterday.
If Tugade and other BRT opponents fail to provide an immediate, viable alternative then it’s about time that the government act with dispatch and facilitate the immediate implementation of the BRT even as a temporary solution to Cebu City’s traffic congestion.
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