Cebu’s future infrastructure snow assured
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - September 30, 2020 - 12:00am

As reported by our dear friend, First District Rep. Eduardo Gullas, Cebu will soon have three new massive infrastructure projects worth a total of P182 billion lined up in the province. Rep. Gullas was referring to the P80-billion fourth Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project, the P28-billion Metro Cebu Expressway Project and the P74-billion Metro Cebu Monorail Transit System Project. Apparently, no Bus Rapid Transit is included in this budget. But don’t fret because the Metro Cebu Monorail Transit system has now been budgeted.

As Rep. Eddiegul Gullas pointed out, “There’s no question the three projects combined will enhance accessibility, facilitate trade, improve mobility, generate greater employment opportunities and boost Cebu’s overall economic productivity.” Gullas was a former governor of Cebu. Of course, Rep. Gullas was referring to the P80-billion fourth Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project, the P28-billion Metro Cebu Expressway Project and the P74-billion Metro Cebu Monorail Transit System Project. Rep. Gullas said the fourth bridge “is already a go with everything in place,” including Japan’s official development assistance loan for the project.

I heard that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) endorsed Udenna’s offer to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and was approved last January. “Metro Cebu desperately needs an overhead commuter train to efficiently move people around and decongest our roads.”

As to the proposal of Udenna Corp.’s unsolicited offer to build a 27-kilometer, 20-station elevated monorail, Rep. Gullas said he is counting on the national government to decide on the proposal before the year ends.

All I can say here is that at least the Duterte administration has made sure that Cebu’s infrastructure issues have been given some kind of priority. While we may not need the 4th bridge to link Mactan Island to the Cebu mainland, at least we know that the future economic growth of Metro Cebu has been assured. This includes the 74-kilometer expressway from Naga City to Danao City which is also a go already but has been held back temporarily by unsolicited offers from two private investors.

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Just a few days ago, a friend of mine called me that his Facebook page has been shut down in order to verify facts that he has forwarded, especially about the coming US election in November. My friend is a conservative and apparently Facebook dislikes conservative thinking, which is why like Twitter, they hate Pres. Donald Trump and is pushing for the Biden-Harris ticket. Then call it coincidental that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte is questioning the continuous operation of Facebook in the Philippines after the social media company took down several “advocacy” pages of the government, including those set up by the military and the police.

 “What would be the point of allowing you to continue if you cannot help us?” Duterte said in a pre-recorded address aired Monday night. “It’s so convoluted I cannot understand.

But put it this way: Tell me why can’t I use [Facebook] for the benefit of the people?”

“If government cannot use it for the good of the people, then we have to talk. We have to talk sense,” he added.

Last Sept.  23, the Facebook head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, announced that the social media platform had taken down two networks  for coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) — or using a myriad of fake accounts to operate. One of the networks was traced to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In reaction, Duterte said that it seemed that Facebook believed accusations from leftists critical of his administration. “Even the advocacy of government was removed.  So what’s the purpose of you being here? Facebook, listen to me: We allow you to operate here hoping that you could help us also,” Duterte said. As the President pointed out, “Now, if government cannot espouse or advocate something which is for the good of the people, then what is your purpose here in my country? And then you’re encouraging the left, then you believe in the left.”

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

CEBU INFRASTRUCTURE
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