Why has the BRT failed in Jakarta?
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - March 28, 2019 - 12:00am

Cebu Pacific Air (CPA) held a media luncheon in Hai Shin Lou of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel last Monday to inform us that they have a new international route using the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Terminal 2 to Shanghai City in China. Candice Iyog, (CPA) vice president for marketing and distribution of Cebu Pacific said, “We want to provide more international connections from other hubs in the Philippines and by connecting our Cebu hub to Shanghai, we offer travelers from the Visayas and Mindanao a compelling and easy option to access another top vacation destination.”

This is indeed in line with CPA’s plan to make Cebu an important hub for the Visayas and Mindanao market, where flights to Shanghai can be done by the people of Cagayan de Oro and other destinations from Vis-Min. Aside from Shanghai, Cebu Pacific flies direct between Cebu, Hong Kong and Macau in China; as well as Narita, Japan; Incheon, Korea and Singapore. With this route, direct flights from Shanghai to Cebu will also make it easier for Chinese tourists to access one of the best islands in the world.

As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported that Central Visayas, which includes prime tourist destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Dumaguete and Siquijor, welcomed over eight million tourists in 2018, of which 17 percent were Chinese, thus making Central Visayas a bigger tourism market than the rest of the Philippines.

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I find it odd that just two days before the Philippine government’s exit from the International Criminal Court (ICC) took effect, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and former top diplomat Albert del Rosario filed a case in the ICC, notably against President Xi for their alleged crimes against humanity in the Philippines and our fishermen in the South China Sea which is within Philippine territory. In the first place, China like the US is not a member of the ICC, and so it has no jurisdiction over the case. Unfortunately, the opposition insists that the ICC has jurisdiction.

But our problem lies upon current reality that the ICC has been used by the opposition against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in his war against illegal drugs, a war that ICC officials do not have a complete understanding. For instance, the problem of illegal drugs went awry in the last six years under the regime of then President Benigno Aquino III whose top officials were involved in illegal drugs. The ICC should have noted that former Justice (DOJ) secretary, now Senator Leila de Lima is in jail because of her allege involvement in illegal drugs. 

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Why don’t you ask yourselves, why until now Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is still enjoying an immense popularity? Proof of the pudding is in the eating; just ask yourselves where are the senatorial candidates belonging to the Liberal Party (LP) for the 2019 mid-term elections in the latest surveys? So far only Mar Roxas has appeared in the Magic 12…, which for me is the reason why the LP suddenly renamed itself as “Otso Deretso” in the hope some of them can join the top Twelve.

Incidentally, a couple of days ago, former President Benigno Aquino III was in Cebu to campaign for the Otso Diretso at the Southwestern University (SWU). The Otso Diretso Senatoriables were too scared to ask the former President not to campaign for them because instead of improving their stature in the campaign, PNoy Aquino would only bring them down.

Cebuanos have finally realized that in the six-year term of former president PNoy he gave nothing to Cebu despite the fact that Cebuanos voted for Mr. Aquino because Mayor Tomas Osmeña campaigned for the LP using the old Osmeña-Roxas (Os-Rox) team. But when Mayor Osmeña presented his pet project to PNoy called the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), PNoy did not approve it and wanted more studies to be done. So Cebu’s only chance for a mass transit system was shelved.

So there really is a debate whether or not Cebu should continue with the BRT or have a Light Rail Transit (LRT). Just this week, I saw a photograph in my Facebook page of an LRT in Jakarta, Indonesia with the caption that Indonesians are elated that finally the LRT has began its operations. If you didn’t know, I was in Jakarta 12 years ago and I was able to take a ride in their BRT. But apparently that hasn’t helped the traffic congestion in Jakarta. I’m sure Cebu would have a similar problem.

I find it ridiculous for Mayor Osmeña to put the BRT and SRP in his campaign posters. The SRP stands for South Road Project which already is existing… but the BRT does not exist. So why put it in a campaign poster? Isn’t this giving us false information? The Mayor should have it removed.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

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