Pressed for time

By: Editorial July 03,2018 - 10:48 PM

Unless organizers secure an alternate route or Cebu City Hall’s top occupant had a last minute change of heart, the likelihood of the annual Ironman competition staging its bike leg somewhere else in Metro Cebu will grow dimmer with each ticking of the clock towards the Aug. 5 event.

The biggest reason cited by both Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Liloan Mayor Cristina Garcia-Frasco in refusing to grant the eight-hour closure of the roads for the triathlon’s biking event is traffic.

Osmeña in particular cited the ongoing work at the Natalio Bacalso underpass project that had already inconvenienced the riding public in months past as the primary reason for rejecting the request of organizers to use the Cebu City side of the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR).

Frasco was a bit more diplomatic but no less adamant in refusing the use of roads leading to Liloan town for the eight-hour bike component.

To her credit, the mayor even took the initiative to ask the organizers to provide an alternate route that can allow the Ironman triathletes to pass through Liloan town without inconveniencing the riding public.

“These major high capacity roads provide the only direct access to and from Liloan and the north of Cebu.

If closed for eight hours, over 100,000 people in Liloan will not have mobility.

Combined with Consolacion, Compostela, Danao, and Carmen, plus commuters, the Ironman road closures will affect half a million people,” Frasco said in a statement posted on her Facebook account.

Not all is doom and gloom for supporters of the event. Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale was quoted in some reports as suggesting that there is an alternate route from Barangay Talamban in Cebu City to Compostela.

As to whether the organizers are amenable to this only they can answer.

But with weeks to go, they are left with few options other than to completely abandon the event which would be quite a loss for Lapu-Lapu City, main staging point and the primary beneficiary of the Ironman’s tourism revenue and publicity windfall.

Regardless of whether the rejection was last minute or not, the dilemma faced by Ironman organizers shouldn’t be trivialized by mere politicking. If the rejection came even with no underpass project disrupting traffic then the motives would be highly suspect.

There is little doubt about the high value prestige of staging the Ironman in Cebu but it should be held without compromising the convenience and comfort of the riding public.

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