MOST Please clean up the city and do it now
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 20, 2019 - 12:00am

A true-blooded Cebuano comes home after 20 years of permanent residence in the US, and he wonders if this is the same city he left two decades ago. He feels extremely disappointed with what he sees.

Is this really the city founded by Don Vicente Rama? Where Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. was born? The city once represented in the Senate and the House by such illustrious men as Don Filemon Sotto, his brother Don Vicente Sotto, Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco, and where Don Vicente Gullas founded the first university in Cebu, the University of the Visayas, and where Don Paulino Gullas founded The FREEMAN a hundred years ago? The city where the oldest street in the Philippines, Colon, is located? Where Magellan's cross was erected in 1521? The city of proud history, rich culture, beautiful music, and the cradle of Philippine Christianity? The queen city of the south?

One would be tempted to answer “I don't think so” from the feedback I got from followers, friends, bloggers, and plain bystanders who are either Cebuanos by birth, marriage, affinity, business, or tourism. And they are all over the country, region, and world. They are deeply concerned Cebu City has become quite dirty, untidy, and not pleasing to the eyes anymore, like a house left uncared for both government officials, civic leaders, and Cebuanos themselves. Iloilo is becoming very pretty and clean. Bacolod has remained quietly immaculate. Dumaguete is like an untouched virgin. Davao is up and about, even Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro are dressing up. Cebu remains unclean, not looking well, ageing, and unattended.

Garbage stinks, canals and esteros breed dengue mosquitoes. Streets are often dirty, muddy during rainy days, and dusty in summer. The surroundings smell very bad and there are a lot of eyesores even as tourists get the first sight of the city from the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge. Some people mindlessly urinate, street children defecate right in front of the noses of barangay tanods and traffic officers who seem to have other priorities. No one is taking charge, accepting command responsibility. It seems Cebu City no longer believes cleanliness is next to godliness.

Businessmen look the other way. Civic clubs Jaycees, Rotary Clubs, Lions, Knights of Columbus, Boys Scouts, Inner Wheel Clubs, chambers of commerce aren’t looking. They see nothing, smell nothing, hear nothing. The Church doesn’t consider the problem their responsibility. Schools have their own priorities. Politicians are busy bickering about turfs and committee chairmanships, or digging skeletons in the closets of their political enemies. The two congressmen representing Cebu City remain mysteriously silent. No one seems to care.

And so, may we respectfully ask the Cebu City government to please clean up our city, and do it with a sense of urgency. By next Sinulog, we should have a cleaner, more fragrant city, one that’s clean and green. A city that Don Sergio, Don Vicente, and all our venerable founding fathers would be proud of and happy about.

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