Time to clean up the Manila Bay
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2018 - 12:00am

My good friend Sir Robert “Bobby” Joseph has been elected as Commodore of the Manila Yacht Club. When he was in Cebu last week I told Bobby Joseph that as Commodore, it is high time for the Manila Yacht Club to take the lead in restoring Manila Bay to its ancient glory. I told Bobby that seven years ago was the last time we took a Ferry from Cebu to Manila. When we passed Corregidor Island a phenomenon occurred where sea birds would land on water. Upon taking a closer look, these birds didn’t really land on water but on refuse or garbage.

Yes, Manila Bay isn’t a tourist destination simply because more than half the entire bay has floating garbage most of which comes from the Pasig River. In my view no talk about climate change in the Philippines should be done without any efforts in solving the Manila Bay garbage dump. I submit that the solution to this problem is not the City of Manila alone. The Manila Bay Yacht Club can take the lead and take baby steps in finding solutions to this problem.

One person that can help the Yacht Club is environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr., a Cebuano who comes from Bantayan Island, Cebu who in 2008 was given the prestigious International Environmental Law Award. Atty. Oposa single-handedly fought rich fishing conglomerates that use trailing nets in fishing in Northern Cebu. He fought their legal battle to the point that the Supreme Court acknowledged his environmental advocacy and now going to courts to clean the environment is something recognized by our courts. Let’s hope that the Manila Yacht Club would take this challenge to clean up Manila Bay for the future of our children’s generation.

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If there is anything that we in the Philippines can boast about it is our senior’s privileges. A lot of Filipinos who have gone abroad look at the senior’s discount for people who are over 60 years of age as a plus factor. Here we have seniors discount on foodstuff and parking privileges, some things that rich nations can only salute us in awe. Incidentally Resorts World Manila celebrate Elderly Week with free movies in their Newport Cinemas. Ayala Theaters in Cebu has offered this to seniors a long time ago.

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There is no question that so many Filipinos believed that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV should serve his sentence for betraying his country and his military service. But if you look at the whole picture, I really don’t care what the Palace and the the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would do but they must find out how much did that Trillanes misadventure cost the nation? Someone has to pay for that cost like it or not! The rule of law whether you are a soldier or not must apply.

In the same manner that jeepney groups have warned the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) of a possible jeepney strike if they don’t get a fare hike.  I have always believed that mass transit systems should never be allowed to strike and anyone conducting a mass strike should be removed from serving the mass population. Those involved in bringing the public into their place or work and back must learn what public service is all about!

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 Things have changed for the worst in the City of Cebu. It’s bad enough that we have not solved our traffic problems… but the bigger problem I finally got to notice was when an armored vehicle rammed on the side of my car. That would have been okay until I learned that Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña didn’t like newly appointed Senior Police Director Royina Garma of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who is Cebu City’s first female police officer. She got her appointed only on the first week of July.

Unfortunately since Mayor Osmeña no longer has operational control of the Police he frowns at the appointment of SPD Garma and threatened to remove the support of the City of Cebu to the Philippine National Police (PNP). So last Sept.18th the Traffic Police was withdrawn from the Cebu City Traffic Office (CCTO) the office I used to chair when it was called CITOM.

In the end CITOM officers went to help me profuse with apologies that they can no longer assist me like in the past because that delegated authority was withdrawn from the City of Cebu. What I hated in the present set up is that you can no longer find a good parking slot in the new police station to resolve your traffic problems.

Worse of all there is no air-conditioning in the Police Traffic Office. In short any quarrels between the elective officials and appointive officials should not change systems that are already working for the City of Cebu. Mind you we helped establish those systems, which Cebu City has done so much to help its constituency.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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