COA should give us an honest BRT assessment
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - August 29, 2019 - 12:00am

The FREEMAN’s banner story Tuesday was the delay in the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which, according to the Commission on Audit, has cost the City of Cebu P23 million. It was due to commitment fees. Such delay, said COA, denied the public for the immediate use of a mass transit system, and their basis for the computation was 2014, when the BRT plan was supposed to hit the ground running. I really don’t know who in COA made this report, but it is totally wrong to say that the BRT issue began in 2014. That P23 million is actually peanuts!

This is the problem with COA. They don’t even have a communications person who can talk with the media. If COA doesn’t know, the BRT started longer than that. Again, I would like the COA to come up with a more accurate analysis of their charges regarding the cost of the BRT. Mind you, in 2014, it was mayor Michael Rama who was the chief executive of Cebu City and followed by mayor Tomas Osmeña. My other question to the COA is why slap Cebu City for the delay of the BRT when that delay was not caused by the City of Cebu? Let’s see if the COA would give us an honest answer to our queries.

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I was a bit surprised why Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued a statement that said that the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo would not compete with the Sinulog but rather complement it as it is held six months from the latter. Perhaps our Lady Governor must have heard some complaints from the social media network, who often just lodge their complaints without researching about the subject?

When the Pasigarbo was officially presented years ago, I do not recall anyone complaining that it competed with the Sinulog. In fact, I wrote a column praising Gov. Gwen for adding another level of attraction to Cebu with the Pasigarbo. During that interview with the Governor, she said that she is eyeing an annual partnership with the Cebu City government for holding of the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo saying as she was grateful for the support from the Cebu City government, especially Mayor Edgardo Labella.

Of course, we’ve always known that the Governor wasn’t in good terms with former mayor Tomas Osmeña who could never find himself to work with the Governor for any reason. But with the shifting of our political landscape, I would love to see the day when the Province of Cebu and the City of Cebu would finally cooperate with each other on promoting the Sinulog and the Pasgarbo festival. This is encouraging news!

To be totally honest about it, I really thought that the Pasigarbo last Sunday was merely a prelude to the coming Pasigarbo next year because the decision to revive it was only made known in July when Gov. Garcia got back the governoship of the Province of Cebu, which then gave the Pasigabo participants only less than two months to practice.

The governor said that she would still have understood it if the mayors declined because of time and budgetary constraints, this is why she only expected more or less 20 participants. But in the end, the Pasigarbo presentations were “truly world-class.” Now, they are looking at the options to hold the street dancing competition in the morning and start the ritual showdown early afternoon.  

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President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, in a speech during the 31st anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in Quezon City, asked the military to finish the war with the communist rebels, saying the government cannot afford to pass the conflict to the next generation. As the President pointed out, “I do not think that we can afford to wage a war another 53 years so I am telling the military, ‘Can we end it now?’ We cannot afford to pass it on to the next generation.”

The President added, “I’m serving notice to everybody that in the coming months, it will be not really bloody, but there will be at least, a little trouble for our country,” he added. The President also mentioned “very radical change” in government in a bid to effectively address security challenges. He said the government was “battling so many fronts,” including the communist insurgency, illegal drugs, and the Abu Sayyaf Group. This means returning to the anti-subersive laws that would block the recruitment of students into this stupidity called communism.

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