Bus rapid transit system in Cebu soon

Cebu City’s plan to adopt the bus rapid transit (BRT) system excites supporters and likewise raise the eyebrows of skeptics.

Several questions are asked. Is this just another solution that later become a problem? Will this only introduce a newly dressed-up buses that look novel at the start but still clog city streets? Will this system displace jeepney drivers and operators? Is BRT better that light rail transit (LRT) or metro rail transit (MRT)? Is this by far the best mass transport system for Cebu?

There are proposals to establish LRT system in Cebu City and whole metro Cebu but the city government is considering bus rapid transit system.

In Cebu Daily News report, Cebu City Planning and Development Officer Nigel Paul Villarete told that BRT system will be a more feasible mode of public transportation for Cebu City because its capital costs are lower compared to a metro rail system.

Cost is not the only variable being considered. Bus rapid transit (BRT) system has been admired and proven for its effectiveness in easing mobility of the people. Besides the system has been found flexible on its implementation.

In her visit to Cebu, President Gloria Arroyo expressed her support to the BRT project. Several sectors already expressed support while some are voicing out their doubts.

Recently, the Cebu City Planning and Development Office (CCPDO) invited members of  SkyscraperCity – Cebu and the Cebu Bloggers Society to present the principles, concept, and plan of establishment of BRT system in Cebu. The presentation clarified issues and misunderstanding of the BRT system. I attended as member Cebu Bloggers Society.

Cebu City is eying the  bus rapid transit system as the best solution for mass transport. Not only Cebu City but the whole Metro Cebu needs a mass transport system. It seems that our jeepneys are no longer viable. Considering the cost of putting light railway system (LRT), I think the city is on the right track when it considers BRT.

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Cebu City officials: CCMC, in a state of utter neglect

It is surprising to hear reports that Cebu City officials was surprised with what they saw in Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) during their surprise visit to the controversial hospital last Friday (January 9, 2009).

I was equally surprised when I read reports about the surprise visit because what they saw was not really very surprising.

I was surprised as if I were in CCMC seeing prominent and honorable city leaders taking a look on one of the city problems that long been neglected. At least now with Acting Mayor Michael Rama, city’s ‘little annoying problems’ (little, really?) are being talked about seriously.

Of course city’s folks also want to know what Cebu City officials are thinking about problems other than the talk of promising prospects of South Road Properties (SRP) that has been idle for quite a long time.

In Sun Star report, Acting Vice Mayor Hilario Davide III was quoted saying, it’s  (CCMC) in such a sorry state. We had a tour of the entire hospital and we all saw na hugaw gyud kaayo ang CCMC (It’s really dirty). It really needs our attention. It’s in a state of utter neglect and kinahanglan gyud limpyohan (It needs cleaning).

The city officials noticed the poor ventilation, the dirt, the patients in sorry desperate situation, among others. Shouldn’t the Queen City of the South prioritize health and provide quality medical service to her taxpayers that give a share to pay the big Yen loan?

If you can’t fix it, sell it!

Several months ago, Mayor Tomas Osmena was contemplating of selling CCMC with his great frustration to CCMC’s reportedly frustrating services.

Despite of CCMC’s known kind of service, city folks still parade to get an experience of being treated. Undeniably, most patients in CCMC are less fortunate. When a private CCMC have improved service, can the less fortunate still be served?

Instead of putting all blames to CCMC officials, City officials must take also its responsibilty of it. After all, the City officials are actually part of culprits.

Let us be excited to the bright prospects of CCMC as the City officials and stepping into addressing the long neglected problems. Let us be excited the same way as we are excited of the promises of SRP.

Should we be surprised if City officials once again go out from their multi-million office building and tour the city’s backyard? I will not be surprised if the City officials get surprised with the city’s garbage problem. Will the smell still surprising?

Why not? After all, life is full of surprises.

Cebu City Hall:: Georgia Osmeña in 2010?

Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s sister might be the next Cebu City Mayor. (So not his wife Margot nor the expected – Mike Rama)

On December 4, Georgia Osmeña registered as a voter of barangay Camputhaw, Cebu City, PhilStar.com reported.

Since she list up as Cebu City voter, will she run for mayor in 2010?

I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no, but I am considering it, Georgia said over radio dyLA on the idea of running for mayor as quoted by Sun Star Cebu in its December 9 report.

Georgia Osmeña may step in Cebu City hall. But there is a condition. Sun Star Cebu reported that Georgia Osmeña might forget about running if somebody addresses the concerns she raised.

In the same Sun Star Cebu report, Georgia Osmeña voice out her concerns:

  • The city roads are bad and filled with potholes and the city is dirty and has no park for children so they end up playing in the streets.
  • The city failed to effectively implement its anti-noise and anti-smoking ordinances.

I should say that Mayor Tommy’s sister has been very observant and have pointed out the city’s major and not so major concerns.

The garbage problem, the water problem, the problem of street crimes are not mentioned. But of course, I assume that Georgia Osmeña have seen also the big responsibilities on South Road Properties, and other economic concerns. Is there a thought to make Cebu City as the most livable city in Asia? Georgia Osmeña must have seen the quality of life of city folks.

If Cebu City Micheal Rama listens, he would be grinning. The two concerns presented by Georgia Osmeña might be very easy for him.

But of course Mike Rama should not discount the posibility that Georgia Osmeña’s list conditions will be filled with another item after another.

When Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña left for his cancer treatment in the US, many had already believed that Vice-Mayor Micheal Rama will be the anointed one of the administration party Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) and soon will be the Cebu City mayor in 2010.

Tomas Osmeña’s health conditions now strip off the speculations that the mayor will endorse his wife Margarita “Margot” Osmeña although there were statements that it wouldn’t be Margot. So, it should be vice mayor now acting mayor Mike Rama.

But why did Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s sister come out in public? Cebu City political  scene is now filled with many rumors and speculations

Cebu city residents are now asking, if Georgia Osmeña then what about Micheal Rama?

Moro-moro: The Battles between Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Gov. Gwen Garcia

There is a perfect combination of dramatic and comic elements in the conflict between Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña and Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia.  Their drama revolves on the plot of jealousy and honor.

I can’t help but get amused to Mayor Tomas and Governor Gwen who are both highly respected Cebu leaders. Both always give me a good laugh with their childish remarks. Much more on their respective graciosos (comical supporters) who do everything just to defend their galanes and damas.

We can look back to the very controversial and already shelved, land swap deal between the Cebu City government and the Cebu Provincial government. Since then, Cebuanos witnessed series of political vendetta and heard harsh exchanges of words.

No less than beloved Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal tried to mediate the two leader but none of them listened. instead they continue to exchange harsh remarks.

I should have ignored this. I should have laughed silently when I hear the very immature and childish talk of these leaders.

However, recently, I almost lost my respect to both of them as I laugh out loud. Look at the picture below. It shows Gov. Gwen Garcia wearing black outfit and showing image of a rooster.

Gov. Gwen Garcia: Did she made a point by wearing weird costumes?

No, Gov. Gwen was not in a costume party nor go to a stage play. She was wearing the weird costume to show off to Cebu media in a press conference. I don’t see a point why she needed to change costume.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña

Now the talk of the town was mayor Osmeña’s calling Gwen Garcia as “Tandang  Zorra”. I asked my friends but they too, don’t know what “Tandang  Zorra” means.

Does it refer to “Tandang Sora” or Melchora Aquino? Thus the name suggests that Gov. Gwen is old? Or does it refer to the female version of Zorro? Why not called Gov. Gwen as Tangdang Gwen instead?

Whatever “Tandang  Zorra” means, that’s none of my business. However, in a recent press conference in Cebu Provincial capitol, reporters  got amazed with what Gov. Gwen did. For humor sake, I suggest to continue reading.

Here’s one of reporter’s recount in Cebu Daily News.

  • The governor showed off her small waste line, which she said is something that other politicians do not have.
  • She also referred to Osmeña as someone who was once a “spring chicken” who has already aged.
  • While she spoke, the governor suddenly walked into an adjoining room, which she uses as resting area. When she emerged two minutes later, she was now wearing a black cape and cowboy hat and was holding a figurine of a rooster.
  • Come on chicken, let’s play chicken… Come on chicken, are you chicken… taktaktaktak,” Garcia teasingly said referring to her observations that Mayor Osmeña and other city officials seemed to be in a panic because of the provincial government’s interest on SRP.
  • She again entered her adjoining room and had a white feather in hand when she emerged. She used the feather to rob chicken’s body as if teasing it and posing for the camera.
  • When Garcia entered her adjoining room for the third time, she took off her props before she returned to her office table to again address media queries.

What a dramatic action!

See? If Gov. Gwen Garcia is Tandang Zorra, then Mayor Tomas Osmeña as Spring Chicken.

I don’t have any idea what other ridiculous acts I can hear from both Osmena and Garcia in the future.

Just for today, I am grateful that both are not national leaders, otherwise, the nation will become a big carnival having already numerous clowns in Malacañang, Lower House, and Senate.

My apologies, honorable men!

Leon Kilat and Tres de Abril

Everyone in Cebu knows what Tres de Abril is. Tres de Abril is a street in Cebu City. The first time I heard Tres de Abril was when I arrived in Cebu in 2000. I asked why the street is called a such. A Cebuano officemate told me about the battle that took place on April 3, 1898. He also narrated to me about Leon Kilat.

pantaleon-villegas-leon-kilat.jpgI was mesmerized as if I had the anting-anting (amulet) of Leon Kilat. It was also the first time I heard about him. Leon Kilat is also a name of a street in Cebu City in honor of Pantaleon Villegas “Leon Kilat” for his great contribution to Cebu history.

It was then that I learn to value not only Colon Street but also other notable streets in Cebu such as C. Padilla, T. Padilla, Gen. Maxilom, A. Abellana, among others.

Tres de Abril

Tres de Abril or April 3 is an important date in Cebu. Every year, Cebuanos celebrate it as the date when major resistance movement was staged against Spanish rule.

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