Du30 will help Cebu solve its traffic crisis
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2020 - 12:00am

Last week, Cebu celebrated the 40th year of the annual Sinulog Festival, which starts with Sinulog sa Kabataan and many other events leading to the annual Fluvial Parade between Mandaue City and Cebu City where the image of the Senyor Sto. Niño was brought from St. Josephs Church in Mandaue City and put on a vessel (this time it was a barge) and brought to Pier One in Cebu City harbor and back into the Basilica de Sto. Niño.

For the record, this iconic image was held by no less than Armada de Moluccas Captain Ferdinand Magellan when he gave it to Queen Juana and King Humabon… 499 years ago… this is why Cebu is preparing the year 2020 for the coming 500th Christianization of the Philippines, which is going to be a great event for Catholics in this part of the world.

Meanwhile last Sunday we celebrated Sinulog 2020, perhaps one of the longest Sinulog Grand Parade to happen because it ended at 10:30 in the evening with a grand fireworks display.

One of the reasons was the schedule for the President to arrive at the grandstand was 4 p.m., but he got in at 6 p.m. and so there was a two-hour lull where some tribos or dancers could have already performed, but the Presidential Security Group (PSG) took over the security arrangements and put the grandstand into a lockdown situation.

Anyway when the President finally arrived he was given a very warm welcome by the people in the grandstand and Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella gave him a very pleasant welcome remarks.

While he was inside the Cebu City Sports Complex the President witnessed two Sinulog contingents that danced for him. The first one was the champion for the 2019 Pasigarbo sa Sugbo from the town of Alcoy which has the “Siloy” dancers led no less by Governor Gwen F. Garcia who last danced the Sinulog Festival six years ago.

This was her second performance last Sunday as her group was the first to dance when the Sinulog Festival was declared open by Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella.

After the two performances were done, Pres. Duterte spoke before the crowd… and threw away his prepared speech saying that it was in English. He then spoke in Binisaya, as he knew that all the people in the grandstand were Cebuanos. In his speech, the President said, “Cebu is an old city, you can’t expand anymore because of narrow roads and problem of easement. Wala pay gobyerno naa nay Cebu. If Cebu starts with a train transport, go on and build roadway in the skies and I will help you to source out funds for that infra project.”

There’s no question that the President realized that the biggest problem that Cebu was facing was bad traffic, which he believes can be solved with a train system. He knows that before World War II, Cebu had a train system that plied the Danao City to Argao route passing by Cebu City.

But that was during the American times. During the invasion of Cebu toward  the end of World War II US B-24 “Liberator bombers destroyed the railroad tracks. When the war was over, the US military left thousands of jeeps and trucks, which many people bought and turned into jeepneys and buses as the train wasn’t running anymore.

No, I didn’t hear the President chastise the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), but clearly its problem lies upon the fact that roads need to be widened in order to implement that project. So the President suggested that to solve the traffic problem faster, Cebuanos must build either a train system or build upward like what they do in Metro Manila by building skyways. This reminds me of the time when there was a group of Cebuanos who didn’t want to build flyovers because they didn’t want Cebu City to be ugly looking. But we all know that this is the solution in many major thoroughfares anywhere in the world.

After he attended the Sinulog Grand parade, the President went to Oakridge facility in Mandaue City for dinner with the local government officials. Although I don’t belong to the LGU community, Assistant Presidential Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino invited me to that dinner and I had a change for some chit-chat with the President when I told him that years ago when we rode our bikes to Davao, we had the same kind of motorcycle, a Yamaha Virago 1100 and he remembered those old days.

Then yesterday when the Philippine STAR came up with that stunning news that US President Donald Trump had invited Pres. Duterte to a summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. If only I knew about that report I would have asked the President how he would handle that invitation especially that Republican Senators banned Philippine officials who are supposedly behind the imprisonment of Sen. Leila de Lima from entering the USA. I guess we would know what Pres. Duterte would do when he makes a statement on this question.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

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