Political stand-off: Undermining Cebu's progress
FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel O Abalos () - December 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The year that is marked with unforgiving catastrophes, endless banditries, notorious kidnappings, ruthless killings and senseless bombings even in places of worship is about to end. Unfortunately, only the “time-bound” year ends; the worries and hates will certainly linger. Hopefully, we can just find some solace on the fact that it is December. The month of peace and rejoicing, of forgiving.  

However, even if peace prevailed and both man-made destructions and nature’s wrath didn’t pervade, with the present economic uncertainties obtaining in the air, it may not be worth rejoicing at all. Materialism is just too overwhelming in the season that those who are wanting in wealth tend to even do the most illegal just to provide something to their loved ones. On the contrary, some who are living in abundance are just simply having trivial problems like being able to hit “below the belt” at each other out of envy.

Pride has certainly set in. Pride is one of the words in the dictionary that could either mean good or bad. Positively, on one hand, it could mean satisfaction, pleasure, delight or gratification. On the other, it could mean self-respect, dignity, self-esteem or honor. Negatively, however, it could mean arrogance, conceit, smugness or self-importance. Its use varies depending on the character of the person and the prevailing situation or surrounding circumstances at hand.

Today, this word is more relevant and is prevalently experienced in Cebu than any other cities or provinces in the country. Political leaders in the island have an overdose of it, and, in the guise of service, have displayed it with gusto. 

Worst, there are still some who, despite all the wealth are seemed face with the insurmountable problem of filling in their insatiable lust for power. Setting aside bankable reasons, they tend to wield their influences to a wild extent just to let every Juan see that they are powers to reckon with. Unmindful of the dire consequences to their constituents, they have continued to talk trash against each other just to project their selfish attempts at supremacy. 

Apart from the two of the more visible characters in the continuing sad tale of Philippine politics, the “Prince of debt” and the “Queen of darkness” (what Cong. Tom and Gov. Gwen fondly labeled each other), Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and Vice Mayor Joy Young have joined the fray. Time and again they have incessantly trade barbs against each other. While some comments are too personal, it can’t be denied that some developmental projects have been held hostage due to the unyielding desires of their wounded egos. 

Last year, as Mayor Rama’s new pair of hands took on the City of Cebu’s rudder and have extended the same hands of friendship to the Provincial Capitol, we thought that Cebu might be headed to a new direction. We felt all along that the Island of Cebu can finally heave a sigh of relief.   As it turned out, however, the change was seemingly on paper. Consequently, nothing favorable has changed. Worst, the incumbent City Mayor and his council are now at loggerheads.

If we may recall, the animosities simply started with the “dawat limpyo” remark from the Cebu City council. Headed then by former Vice Mayor Rama (now, Mayor Rama), it was said in jest out of the impression of being shortchanged from the proposed swap between the City’s prime lots and the lots occupied by the 93-1 beneficiaries in Barangay Luz. Apparently irked by the unexpected remark, the provincial capitol cooled off the deal. Since then, the war rages on. As emotions and pride joined the fray, reconciliation remained evasive. 

As outside parties to this ongoing war and are therefore more objective, let us look into the subject of their quarrels one by one. After running through with it, let us give a piece of our thoughts as to how to address such concerns.

First, let us take a look at the issue that started it all, the 93-1 beneficiaries of Barangay Luz. In tackling this concern, let us momentarily set aside the monumental “dawat limpyo” remark and focus on the issue at hand. It is a fact that these beneficiaries have been in the place for more than twenty (20) years now. Then, the place was nothing but a haven for informal settlers and to some extent “police characters”. By virtue of a resolution, they were given the opportunity to own the land they built their homes through affordable terms. Despite these very human terms and conditions, however, others failed to comply. To those who have complied, Capitol had allegedly given titles to them. To the delinquent parties, their future remained bleak by their own doing. However, though delinquent, with the unequivocal support from city hall, they have asserted their rights over the land they now occupy. 

Delinquent as they are, they are not coming out clean in this ongoing drama. Naturally, the fear of being evicted haunts them no end. This is not only aggravated by the fact that the lot is owned by the Province of Cebu which CEO happens to be a mortal enemy of their great defender, the province is also in the retrieval mode as far as their previously donated lots are concerns. Therefore, considering that they are lowly mortals, the threat that capitol will get their abode with an iron fist is imminent.

In this regard, it is very important that capitol will be able to project its sincerity by discussing with these delinquent beneficiaries the ways out of these uncertainties. They should do so having in mind that booting them out of their respective abode is never an option. Capitol, therefore, should abandon the thought that with Cebu Business Park beside these lots can pitch exorbitant prices and may add enormous value to its balance sheet.

            Additionally, the provincial capitol should also abandon the thought of getting back the Cebu Zoo and Fuente Osme?a. These lots are too negligible in size to muddle the entire picture. Unless the city will use them for other purposes, leave these properties for the city to maintain.

Lately, these ongoing intramurals are taking another turn. More players have come in and new issues have been raised. The BRT vs. LRT saga has heightened a bit. The Osmeña vs. Rama rift is brewing. The flyover skirmishes had worsened.

With these issues unresolved, some projects are left in the freezer. The “Ciudad” project for instance has been losing a lot of opportunities. With the surge in unemployment brought about by the global economic slowdown and local migration, such project could have provided some solace among those who may be rendered jobless. 

Frankly, in this ongoing turmoil, we need not look beyond our island for our economic prosperity. What we fervently hope is for our leaders in the City and Province of Cebu to sit down and discuss their animosities like honorable Prince and Queen for the benefit of the Cebuanos in particular and the “probinsyanos” in general. 

Indeed, amid these animosities, several inhabitants in the city and province of Cebu are left in the cold. With these politicians egos still to be attended to, we (the hapless constituents) may just have to momentarily freeze while waiting for the manna to come. As to how long the wait shall be, nobody knows. What is certain however is, all these years their egos were well fed while progress continued to starve. 

For your comments and suggestions, please email to foabalos@yahoo.com.

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