Need volunteers? Let's revive the ROTC!

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

I met Atty. Raffy Yap, executive director of the Cebu City Traffic Operations & Management, last Monday evening and praised him for not allowing left-turns from the Mormon Temple towards Beverly Hills because those motorists can simply go towards JY Square and make a U-Turn along the island there. This move has reduced the traffic congestion in this heavily congested area. Of course, CITOM must and should double its efforts to apprehend those motorists who park along this very narrow road. Perhaps as suggestion, we should rebuild the triangle along JY Square and turn it into a mini-runabout or like a mini-Fuente so traffic can go smoother. May I suggest that CITOM come up with such a plan because I know that it would work in that busy intersection. Roundabouts are common in French roads.


In yesterday's 888 Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza, we had as guests Rep. Ben-Hur Salimbangon of the 6th district and Department of Social Welfare & Development assistant regional director for operations, Shalane Marie Lucero. The main issues focused on two major concerns…one was that the DSWD official was seeking for volunteers to help the DSWD in packing goods that would be sent to disaster areas, while Rep. Salimbangon agreed with her regarding the prepositioning of relief goods.

Rep. Salimbangon had to rely on the goodness of many of his friends and donors in this time when the Priority Development Assistance Program or pork barrel has become unconstitutional. But I reminded Rep. Ben-Hur of a column that I wrote after the super typhoon "Yolanda" disaster that the prepositioning of relief goods can be done even without the need for a pork barrel… simply by creating a law on disaster preparedness unless there is one already.

For the 5th district, all that is needed is for building preposition warehouses or bodegas that would be constructed below the ground, thus it can withstand any strong typhoon that hits us. This huge underground bodega that would be constructed in the middle of Bantayan Island and another one between Bogo and Daanbantayan can house all the relief goods supply for at least a month. They can also house big or small generators, drinking water supplies and fuel and trucks that would distribute these goods when they need to be deployed.

Surely building such a structure isn't going to be expensive as it is going to be built one floor below the ground. In fact the cement roof can double as a huge basketball court. All Rep. Ben-Hur should do is come up with one design that can be duplicated all over the disaster prone areas. Then if a year passes without a typhoon, the relief goods can be distributed for Christmas so that the bodegas can be restocked with fresh relief goods.

Finally, I, again, for the nth time, told Rep. Salimbangon and DSWD's asst. regional director Lucero that we must bring back the Reserve Officers Training Corps in the next school year. I have been harping on the return of the ROTC for many years already, but no one in the Aquino Regime or in the previous administration of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo cared to listen. Again let me reiterate that a restored ROTC should not only be given military training but must also be trained for emergency evacuation and distribution of relief goods. So if you're looking for manpower, it's right there before your noses.


I attended the 25th anniversary of Cokaliong Shipping last Monday evening, which was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel. No doubt my good friend, Chester Cokaliong, has made his ships known in our domestic shipping industry as the cleanest, most efficient and best run ships in all of the Visayas and Mindanao. No less than Atty. Gloria Victoria-Bañas exhorted the ideals of Cokaliong when she said that with people running their shipping lines the way Chester Cokaliong runs his ships…there was no need for government regulators.

This is so true… this year, we took the Cokaliong ship from Ozamis City back to Cebu during our big bike rides and it was the vessel where the passengers felt that the owners took great care to make them safe and comfortable. If I felt this way, I'm sure that the passengers too felt the same way as I did.

In his very emotional speech, Chester thanked his mother Madame Gregoria Cokaliong for believing in his dream and loaning him the money to start his shipping business which he said he had long repaid her. I salute Chester for giving a good example. Hence, he said that since the last 25 years, Cokaliong grew by leaps and bounds and had a great safety record, Chester has vowed to have a "No Sinking Policy" for the next 25 years. After this, Mayor Michael Rama gave a toast in his honor. Kudos to Ma'am Gregoria and Chester Cokaliong and more power!

[email protected].

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