Happy New Year to one and all!
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2019 - 12:00am

First off, allow me to greet all my readers in the Philippine STAR a very Happy New Year 2019. This is a year that we are going to have a mid-term elections which is an important year for the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, because usually mid- term elections is one way of finding out whether the six-year presidency is starting to wane. At this point allow me to say that so far Pres. Duterte has not committed any serious atrocities within his administration to separate the feelings of Filipino voters away from him.

But it is the beginning of New Year 2019 and let me start my New Year’s hope or wish that finally, the Duterte administration notably the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under Secretary Mark Villar would do some infrastructure projects that would help ease traffic in Metro Cebu! First on my agenda is that project that my dear friend, former Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro promised me if he won the elections. That’s the parallel road to Escario St., one of Cebu City’s worse traffic areas. I initiated this project way back in the year 2000 when I was the head of CITOM, Cebu City’s Traffic Office and DPWH refused to give me that project.

When I conceptualized that project traffic along Escario St. was acceptable. But today, it is already horrible and what is far more unacceptable is that DPWH has no alternative road to ease traffic along that road. The Banilad to Talamban road is less than five kilometers long, yet it is called the EDSA of Cebu City because Cebuanos experience worse traffic there, which leads to Ma. Luisa Subdivision, Cebu City’s version of Forbes Park and the Ateneo de Cebu or Sacred Heart School.

What this road needs is an upper roadway similar to the elevated roadway from Alabang to Makati. Yet no one is planning anything to ease the suffering of Cebuano motorists who voted for Pres. Duterte. This is what pains me, despite my continued support for the President. Sec. Mark Villar first came to Cebu City with a load of hope that finally after the infrastructure starvation that we experienced under the presidency of PNoy Aquino, we are still as starved today.

Then let’s move to AS. Fortuna Ave., Mandaue City’s main thoroughfare. This road often gives us a two-hour traffic to connect to Cebu City and yet all it needs are two flyovers, one along H. Cortes Ave. and one along the main Mandaue Highway. Yet the people who use this road just suffer in silence. To think 2019 is a mid-term election year, yet none of the local officials in Mandaue City has made a promise to fix the city’s infrastructure problems that is the main cause of traffic congestion in the area. I already dared the people of Mandaue City to demand from their local officials to promise some kind of infrastructure to help solve their traffic woes and I hope that the millennial voters heard my call!

2019 must be the year for Filipinos to be less tolerant than before. When I say less tolerant, please remember that martial law took a 14-year period thanks to Filipino patience and tolerance. But last year Pres. Duterte took the unprecedented move to clean up the fabled Boracay Island, the country’s top tourism drawer. While I submit that Boracay is not yet a hundred percent back to its old self, at least it has learned its lesson well.

So for 2019, I expect the Duterte administration to seriously move to clean up Manila Bay, an advocacy I helped promote when my good friend Robert “Bobby” Joseph was elected commodore of the Manila Bay Yacht Club (MBYC). We have made inroads in this advocacy to the point that Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu made promises that DENR would move in on Manila Bay. But it is easy to issue a directive for DENR to clean up Manila Bay which news organizations immediately published, however, no one has asked Sec. Cimatu on how he intends to make this clean up work.

Let me point out that unlike Boracay, which the Duterte administration shut down for six months, the national government cannot shut down Manila Bay. As I earlier wrote, the Senate crafted the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development or Senate Bill No. 1578 last October, yet Human Settlements was a Cabinet post during the Marcos martial law years, where Imeldific was the top banana.

So I suggest that the first thing that this organization should do is to remove all houses and buildings located in our esteros or rivers and build new buildings or home for these people on higher ground and believe me… we’ve solve at least 50 percent of the problems in Manila Bay. I would like to see 2019 as the year when Filipinos fixed their problems regardless of its difficulty so that the entire world would know that Filipinos fix problems!

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!
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