An added feature for the Kamagayan plan

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

This article today may, very well, be taken as a sequel to my column last Thursday. I wrote then on the idea of the city's erecting a main command center for the government's disaster relief operations, on that portion of Barangay Kamagayan, that is now cleared both of informal settlers and the structure of the defunct CitiCenter Corporation rather than devote the entire area for a housing plan for the employees of the city government.

In this frame of mind, I reckon two things that are observable in that barangay. First, the entrepreneurswho are doing business on the sidewalk of Junquera Street abutting the University of San Carlos and second, the remaining part of the former CitiCenter structure along Sanciangco Street that continues to house a variety of economic activities.

Let us attempt to trace a historical background of the first observable thing. When I began teaching Political Law at the University of the Visayas, more than three decades ago, I used to walk that short distance of about two hundred fifty to three hundred meters from law office to school. A wide concrete sidewalk of more than two meters ran along Junquera Street. The pedestrians, like me, were safely walking on a slightly elevated terrain because we were removed from the hazards of vehicular traffic.

Then, I began to notice that small shops (for repairing bags and shoes, machine copying, T-shirt printing and others) were allowed to operate on the Junquera sidewalk. Some brilliant leaders thought of providing space to artisans. While those businesses initially left a space of the sidewalk for us, the pedestrians, to wiggle thru, they, thru time, eventually gobbled the whole place. The result was clear. We were forced to walk on the road itself and in the process subject us to the constant dangers of road accident.

There is reason to think that, as probably forecast by the visionary men of not-so-long-ago, these economic enterprises have been flourishing. It is visible in their present activities. Their shops are loaded with whatever materials and equipment they need to do business. We cannot see them idle. There are customers constantly patronizing them. The only negative side of their undertakings is that many of their transactions arepresently being donewith customers already standing, quite dangerously, on the street where motor vehicles whiz by.

The second scene that is observable along Sanciangco Street is different from the first in few regards. In one context, these businesses have appropriated for themselves bigger spaces of the old CitiCenter building. It is not an exaggeration to claim that three of the small shops along Junquera may be accommodated in one commercial slot along Sanciangco. Then, to a certain degree, the businesses in this second scene are less progressive than the first. It is on this account that they appear inactive if not indolent.

Now, here is why this article is a sequel to my Thursday column. The city administration of his honor, Mayor Michael L. Rama, plans to construct a condominium type of housing for the city government employees on this part of Kamagayan. In our write up, we suggested that the city instead shall establish a central station from where the its  responds to any and all form of calamities and/or disasters.

Before undergoing the construction, the remaining portion of the CitiCenter building, the one that faces Sanciangco Street should have to be torn down too. This is a piece of real estate property owned by the city that is not used properly. As it is, its economic value is wasted for the income it generates, if at all, is not commensurate. When it is demolished, it paves the way for a much larger space for the city to devote to more appropriate use.

What about its present occupants? Like the businessmen who are now doing engaged in their economic activities on the sidewalk of Junquera Street, they shall be relocated to a part of the future building of owned by the city. Perhaps, a floor may be allocated for them in such a way that they will not hinder the flow of disaster relief responders but at the same time making them accessible to consuming public. Oh, careful planning will take care of that. End.












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