Why Cebu City leased the North Bus Terminal

At long last! By a vote of 16-0 Senate Bill no. 2254 scrapping the Death Penalty has been approved on its 3rd and final reading because the Senate found capital punishment anti-poor and cruel and most important of all, it failed to deter the commission of other heinous crimes. Congress is expected to follow suit and soon, Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) will sign this into law. This puts to an end a decades-long debate that pitted pros versus cons while the culture of death permeates the countryside. Let's hope that the scrapping of the Death Penalty is the start of a new culture of life for this Christian nation.
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I was cleaning up my desk and came across a story that made the news a couple of weeks ago which I meant to write but forgot to do so because of many other issues that caught our eye. This is about the move by Mandaue City Mayor Teddy Ouano to cancel the contract that the City of Cebu made with the City of Mandaue to operate the North Bus Terminal. I'm not going to go into what the present problem is between the two Metro Cebu Cities, I will only deal on the history as to why the City of Cebu rented a facility that was supposed to be for the use of Mandaue City.

If you recall, the Metro Cebu Development Projects (MCDP) way back in the early 90s came up with a plan to build a modern bus terminal. At that time, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) approved to construct what is now the South Bus Terminal, which is run by the Province of Cebu. Incidentally, while this terminal is called the South Bus Terminal, it is actually located in the North District of Cebu City.

During one of the numerous meetings we had with the MCDP, then Mandaue City Mayor Pedong Ouano, father of Mayor Teddy Ouano loudly complained to the MCDP board that Cebu City was getting a bus terminal and there was none for Mandaue City. Hence, the Japanese consultants present agreed to formulate a plan to give Mandaue City its own bus terminal. This is where the problems of Mandaue began.

Remember the saying of Oscar Wilde, "There are two tragedies in life, one that you do not get what you want the other is when you get it." This is exactly the tragedy that fell upon the lap of then Mayor Pedong Ouano because MCDP Board with the acquiescence of the Japanese consultants gave him the North Bus Terminal because he asked for it. But in truth, he just wanted to get something from the MCDP similar to what it gave to Cebu City. But this project did not belong to Cebu City because the South Bus Terminal is for the Province of Cebu. It was merely located in Cebu City.

So now, Noy Pedong had a bus terminal and his problem was, he didn't have any idea how to operate it. Then came the Japanese consultants who had to make their reports to Japan on whether the projects given to Cebu was what was needed by our people. So when Mandaue City thought of turning the North Bus Terminal into a school, this brought big frowns on the Japanese consultants because if a school was what Mandaue City needed, then they would have given Mandaue a school!

Not wanting to disappoint the Japanese officials who could have stopped future projects in Cebu because Mandaue really didn't need a bus terminal, Mayor Tomas Osmeña came to the rescue and asked Mandaue City if Cebu City could operate the North Bus Terminal for a rental of P2 million a year for 25 years. This contract was made in 1995 and will expire in the year 2020. Eleven years have passed without a hitch. So what is the problem now? Why is this contract being rescinded?

I read that Mayor Teddy Ouano wants to put up a school in that facility. Hellooo! Is history repeating itself? Let me put it plainly to Mayor Ouano. If he rescinds this contract in order to operate a school, he runs the risk of losing any future grants or projects the Japanese government may have in store for the City of Mandaue. We should know that the Japanese government officials are answerable to their constituents, many of them who come to Cebu for vacation or work. How would the Japanese officials react to reports that the Bus Terminal, a Japanese project given to Mandaue City, was now turned into a school after 11years?

Doing that would only show that the studies made by the Japanese consultants at that time proved wrong; that after all, Mandaue City didn't need a bus terminal at that time and even today, they would rather have a school than a bus terminal? I'm writing this piece in order to set the record straight, as I am not taking sides in this issue, but rather I'm giving our readers the reason why Cebu City had to rent the North Bus Terminal from Mandaue City. Now are we going to make the same mistake again?
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