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Cebu leaders meet DPWH Sec. Villar

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - July 7, 2016 - 12:00am

While yesterday was a holiday as it was the end of Ramadan, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. through Mega Cebu still held a Consultative Meeting with Department of  Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, as facilitated by the Office of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino at the Eduardo Aboitiz Studies Center with one goal in mind, to find solutions to the flooding in Metro Cebu last Friday July 1. That flooding as reported by Engineer Fortunato Sanchez, Jr. started from 3:45 to 5:00PM and was only 55 millimeters of rainfall. So why was Cebu flooded so quickly?

From the PowerPoint Presentation of Jun Sanchez and later from DPWH Regional Director Ador Canlas, there were many major factors that caused the flooding. The biggest culprit of all is the informal settlers living along the riverbanks of our rivers, notably, the Lahug Creek, the Guadalupe River, Kinalumsan River, and Subangdaku River. Notable amongst them is the flooding around SM City areas, which can be traced to the hundreds of informal settlers living along the banks of the Subangdaku River.

Flooding was also bad along A.S. Fortuna Avenue between Rolling Hills Funeral Homes and the Volvo dealership. Once again, this is our wakeup call that we must do something soon before it is too late. Already, Mr. Dondi Joseph, chairman of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board warned that El Niña is coming by November.

Kudos to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino for going out of his way to facilitate that meeting in RAFI with Mega Cebu and Sec. Villar because he was in Manila when he got reports that Cebu was being inundated. He wasted no time in asking Sec. Villar to come to Cebu for a side trip on his way to Boracay. It was my first time to meet Sec. Villar.

One thing was sure, indiscriminate throwing of garbage is one major culprit!

I found Sec. Villar to be a regular guy who listens to you intently and Bobby Aboitiz, co-chair of MCDCB also appreciated Sec. Villar for responding immediately and coming to Cebu to find ways to solve our flooding problems. After the more than an hour-long presentation in RAFI, Sec. Villar then proceeded to the Cebu Country Club to meet with the local government leaders.

Notable amongst them is Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza with Rep. Aileen Radaza, Talisay City Mayor Eduardo Gullas, Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing, Cordova Mayor Therese Sitoy-Cho, Consolacion Mayor Teresa Pepito Alegado, Rep. Red Durano, Rep. Jonas Cortes and Rep. Benhur Salimbangon. Notably absent were Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. They probably think that they can solve Cebu's flooding problems by their lonesome.

***

It was the biggest breaking news ever that we've heard in the long time when no less than President Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte announced during the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force at least five Police Generals that were allegedly involved in illegal drugs. They are Deputy Director General and former Region-7 Police Director Marcelo Garbo, Jr., Bernardo Diaz, Edgardo Tinio, Joel Pagdilao, and Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot. All were tagged by President Duterte as "drug protectors."

To add to what President Duterte reported, Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson came out in a news report that he knew at least two of these names during the election campaign as told to him by his men in the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force. Right away, Mayor Vicente Loot came out before the media to inform the public that he was subjected to a black propaganda and he vowed to clear his name, while what we know of Gen. Garbo is that, he was openly batting for the candidates of the Liberal Party. Now these Police Generals have been relieved of their command and they would be subjected perhaps to a lifestyle check and will be given the opportunity to defend themselves in court.

This big breaking news had people showing their respect for President Duterte, as he is the first President to come out in the open to accuse PNP Police Generals of their involvement in the illicit drug trade. Next on President Duterte's list are the so many Mayors who are also involved in the illegal drug trade. Now that's a list worth waiting for.

Surely Pres. Duterte isn't the kind of person who simply accuses people unless he had a good intelligence network and by his openly exposing the names of the Police Generals, and soon the Mayors, involved in the illegal drug trade, he is telling the whole nation of the seriousness of this crime, done not by simple criminals but by persons cloaked with authority who misuse their positions to further this illicit trade.

vsbobita@mozcom.com.

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