The good and bad news about the parallel road
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - November 18, 2019 - 12:00am

For tonight’s presentation on “Straight from the Sky” we bring you for the first time on my show the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth. Call it timely that I was able to feature PhilHealth exactly three years after I was able to avail of their Z Package plan for my kidney transplant three years ago, where they generously gave me P600,000. This is not to mention that since I had my operation at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, my nurses asked me if I kept my medical receipts, which I did and so I gave it to them and PhilHealth refunded my medical expenses above the Z Package that they already bestowed to me. Thanks to Vice President Billy Chavez who was then the president of the Rotary Club of Cebu.

So tonight, to represent PhilHealth, we have regional vice president Lourdes Diocson for Region 7 and public relations officer Dina Cinchez. Aside from what PhilHealth has been doing in the past, our show tonight gives us an idea of the new plan by PhilHealth called the Universal Health Care (UHC) program. I just read a report last Friday that said free eye care services would become available for Filipinos next year with the implementation of the UHC program.

This was the assurance given by health secretary Francisco Duque III that the DOH would be able to provide comprehensive eye care services, integrate eye care within local health systems and respond to emerging eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma under the UHC. So watch our show on PhilHealth tonight on SkyCable’s channel 53 at 8 p.m. with replays on Wednesday and Saturday same time and channel. We also have replays on MyTV’s channel 30 at 9 p.m. Monday and at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.

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Early Friday morning, I got a call from Vice Mayor Mike Rama reacting to my column that Mayor Edgar Labella has finally decided that the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. (SFI) and the newly-created Cebu City Sinulog Governing Board (CCSGB) has to sit down together and work for a better Sinulog celebration. While I wrote that the statement of Labella stopped the confusion as to who should be the top banana for the Sinulog Festival, what added to the continued confusion was that the CCSGB called for a press conference when they should no longer do that. There should only be one spokesman for the Sinulog body so there will no longer be any confusion.

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The front page cover news of Sun.Star last Friday was “2.3-K Detour Eyed to Relieve Escario.” This was one piece of news that made my day, as it is the so-called parallel road to Escario Street that I’ve brought into the Infrastructure Utilities Committee that I headed in 2000. However I must correct Sun.Star for using the word “detour” when in fact it isn’t a detour but a new road that is 70% parallel to Escario Street while the 30% continues on to V. Rama Avenue in Guadalupe.

As the news report goes, Councilor Jerry Guardo, infrastructure committee chairman, said the diversion road should decongest the volume of vehicles on Escario Street, M. Velez Street, and around Capitol Site. Indeed, this is a diversion road, not a detour as it starts beside the Guadalupe Barangay Hall and exits across the Lahug Elementary School and it would have two bridges as this will pass the Guadalupe River and the Lahug Creek.

This new road will have four lanes with two lanes each for northbound and southbound vehicles and sidewalks on both sides. Each lane will be three meters wide. DPWH-7 Director Edgar Tabacon revealed that this infrastructure project is estimated to cost P2.4 billion. The amount will be included in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) annual budget for the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

While I consider this news report with a great enthusiasm, I grieve with this news that this P2.4-billion project would have to be budgeted for the 2021 GAA. As I’ve pointed out many times, DPWH never had any alternative proposal to my idea. So finally they have decided to implement this road project two years from now. At this point we can only hope and pray that nothing will block this project anymore. After all, anything can happen in two years.

vsbobita@gmail.com

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