Mayor Mike, time to fix our potholed roads

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - August 10, 2015 - 10:00am

Allow me to congratulate the people behind the 888 News Forum on its 9th anniversary today. The 888 News Forum is spearheaded by Sr. Robert “Bobby” Joseph and the men and women behind 888 News Forum. Notably, Mr. Ricky Poca who hosts the weekly program and Ely Baquero who alternates with Ricky in looking for their guests. This also includes, Ms. Patria “Dawnee” Roa, Mr. Ricky Tio, Philippine Star’s Honey Loop and the Cebu news media who always get their news at the 888 News Forum.

Thanks also for the super support of the Marco Plaza Hotel executives now under General Manager Julie Najar who took over from Mr. Hans Hauri. The hotel has been the home of the 888 News Forum for five years. Of course, thanks to the TV crew of MyTV channel 30 for covering the 888 News Forum in the past three years now. Kudos to the 888 News Forum and more power!


Didn’t the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration inform us that for the later part of the year 2015, we would experience a sweltering heat due to the El Niño phenomenon? Well, apparently this has now happened and we’ve been experiencing strong rains since the rainy season ushered last June. Thanks to the rains, the streets of Cebu City are now in one of its worse conditions.

Since it was a Sunday, I decided to take my cousins from the US for a joyride via the Transcentral Highway. But first I had to pass by Villalon Road, just behind the Provincial Capitol, which goes all the way to the Boys and Girls Scout Camps and to Beverly Hills. In my book, this road is perhaps the most neglected road by the Rama administration. This road is so potholed that you cannot escape putting your wheels into one. I dare Mayor Mike Rama to ride up there and get himself shaken by those potholes.

While driving up the Villalon Road, he will notice that the sidewalks there have literally vanished, taken over by the various stores on both sides of the road, leaving people to walk on the road. Yes the sidewalks they installed are just too high. It is supposed to discourage sidewalk parking. I say it’s a big fat bull! Let me just say that Mayor Rama cannot afford to ignore the reality that many roads in Cebu City needs to be repaved.

What gets our gall is that, much of the effort to fix our roads are in preparation for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. Yes, the national government fixes the roads for our foreign guests who are here only for a few days. And yes, they are not even taxpayers in this country. But we the taxpayer suffer riding on potholed roads every single day, with no one telling us whether they would fix it or not.

Speaking of the APEC Summit, I was happy to read the editorial of The Freeman last Friday August 7 entitled, “Window dressing cannot hide who we are.” Let me reprint the first part of that editorial. “The government is about to round up beggars in order to hide them from view when foreign visitors descend on Cebu for a series of high-level meetings of the APEC. Why the government keeps on resorting to these stop-gap measures instead of finding real and lasting solutions to the problem of the homeless and unemployed trying to strike out a living on the streets has continued to elude an honest answer and a dedicated response from the same government.”

The editorial continues, “It’s bad enough already that the government has not been able to help these homeless poor in the streets, it is worse that they have to be swept under the rug because they might prove to be eyesores to our foreign guests who, from what has been reported will be treated in the wonderful and beautiful sights and tourist spots around the islands.” Great editorial, it hit the hammer on the head!

This is the Aquino regime for you. Not much different from the conjugal Marcos dictatorship who, in 1977 during the World Law Conference held at the Philippine International Convention Center, erected walls painted in white to hide the squatter colonies of Manila. What have we become? In Tagalog it’s called “Pakitang tao.”

The same thing happened last January during the visit of Pope Francis when the Department of Social Welfare and Development rounded up some 500 families living in the streets of Metro Manila and housed them in an expensive resort in Batangas, spending hundreds of millions of pesos. All I can say is shame on all of us for voting this government into office. 

So back to our potholed streets. I dare say that for the 2016 elections, Mayor Mike could face a strong challenge from his former boss, former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who before the elections would call for his famous “asphalt storm” to fix the streets of Cebu City.

Like it or not, asphalting broken or potholed streets is a common practice by politicians to gain votes of their constituents, who have very short memories and decide to vote for the mayor because he just recently paved their broken road.

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