Students forced to attend the LP event?

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

I heard from a very good source that the students that filled the Cebu Coliseum during the "Gathering of Friends" came from the University of Cebu  had to go to the coliseum to fill up the seats and thus making us believe that Pres. Aquino and DILG Sec. Manuel "Mar" Roxas or the Liberal Party for that matter had a huge following in Cebu. This case is even worse than a "hakot" crowd because if these students refused to go, they would be marked absent from their classes.

Here is the text from another source, this time I got it from the Facebook page of DyLA Cebu, "Some students were required to attend the Liberal Party's "Gathering of Friends" at the Cebu Coliseum. Their attendance was checked. When they wanted to leave because of a 4 pm examination, they were barred from leaving by PSG guards who refused to open the main gate of the coliseum because the program was ongoing at that time and the President was still there.

Criminology students of a downtown university said they were told that the event would end at 3PM, but at that time, Aquino and Roxas have yet to give speeches. They appealed to the PSG personnel to let them go out because they have an examination at 4PM but the PSG guard did not listen to them." So much for this so-called "Gathering of Friends." If indeed they were friends, then the PSG guards should have allowed people to come and go freely.

This is how things are turning out for the Liberal Party… that they end up "forcing" those students to stay and listen to what Pres. Aquino and DILG Sec Mar Roxas have to say. I gathered that DyLA reporters were harassed by the PSG because they were interviewing the people inside and even tried to check if DyLA was one of the accredited media invited to that event. What can I say… this is the Liberal Party for you…where it has no respect for the rights of the media.

This is why I'm bringing this story out for the public to know… that their so-called "Gathering of Friends" were people who really didn't have the freedom to come and go. If you ask me… that incident was worse than Martial Law! Mind you, I was at the Cebu Coliseum during the last visit of then Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos to Cebu (that was during the snap elections) wherein he declared that from henceforth, there would be no more toll in the Mactan Bridge. At that time we could get in and out of the Cebu Coliseum anytime we wanted to. I hope my good friend, Art Barrit would appreciate that I'm writing this in order to bring to the public's attention of what transpired here last Monday.

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Still on that visit by Pres. Aquino to Cebu last Monday. Did we fail to see that the Department of Public Works & National Highways allocated P23 billion for infrastructure projects in Cebu? DPWH says that P643.73 million of this money was spent in the widening of the circumferential road in Mactan. Hmmm, now has anyone noticed this road-widening project? If you ask me… that road is still as narrow as it was before the MCDP widened and cemented it.

It just makes you wonder how DPWH spent these monies. In Cebu City, the DPWH bragged that it spent some P290 million concreting the Sergio Osmeña Boulevard. Yes we saw that, but mind you, that road did not need rehabilitation and in fact we complained that DPWH cemented this asphalted road when it was still in very good condition, while there are many roads that are so dilapidated but DPWH cannot even see where these are.

But for Pres. Benigno Aquino III to say that we his critics need glasses, he should look again at what his regime has done for Cebu in the last five-years. We only have the P290 million concreting of Sen. Sergio Osmeña Blvd. Let me point out that these road projects did not appear in the National Economic Development Authority for new infrastructure projects, where as of today, Cebu still has a zero in infrastructure development. What DPWH gave to Cebu was road rehabilitation… something that DPWH is duty-bound to fix by law! These are not new infrastructure projects. It misled Pres. Aquino by saying that Cebu was not neglected under his watch!

In short, we Cebuanos didn't get the infrastructure that we needed so badly. For instance, as I have written so many times before, we need flyovers along M.L. Quezon Ave. corner Plaridel Street and another one along Plaridel Street and Mandaue Highway and at the corner of Plaridel Street as you turn to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. Then there's that flyover that DPWH should have built at the end of the old Mactan Bridge so that traffic going to and from the Mactan Cebu International Airport  would no longer get clogged for hours, thus causing many passengers to miss their flights. But DPWH gave us the infra we didn't really need!

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For email responses to this article, write to [email protected]. or [email protected].  His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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