Church: Roads named after religious heads must be clean-A A +A
Thursday, December 15, 2011
CEBU CITY -- The Catholic Church supports the City Council’s move to rename Juan Luna Ave. in Barangay Mabolo to Pope John Paul II Ave.
But Msgr. Achilles Dakay, Archdiocesan media liaison officer, told the Cebu City Government to make sure that once renamed, Juan Luna Ave., along with other streets in the city named after religious leaders, should be “clean and clear.”
“Clean of indecent billboards and clear of flyovers, whoever may build them,” he said, apparently referring to the proposed flyover project of Representative Rachel “Cutie” Del Mar (Cebu City, north district) on Gorordo Ave., which was named after Bishop Juan Bautista Gorordo.
Other streets in the city that have been named after religious leaders are Archbishop Gabriel Reyes Ave. and Cardinal Julio Rosales Ave.
“I don’t think this is asking too much,” said Dakay, who spoke before the City Council Wednesday during the public hearing of Councilor Edgardo Labella’s proposed ordinance renaming Juan Luna Ave., formerly known as San Jose dela Montaña, to Pope John Paul II Ave.
Among the staunchest critics of the proposed flyovers, particularly the one planned along Gorordo Ave., are from the religious sector.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma earlier issued a statement that most of the priests favor creating a master plan over the construction of flyovers.
One of the priests, Fr. Margarito Alingasa, was among those who formally presented at a forum Wednesday the findings of the technical working group (TWG) that studied the Metro Cebu transport system.
Alingasa is a member of the TWG, which failed to present its findings to the Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting last month, after the RDC’s Infrastructure Development Committee voted down the study.
“They (proponents of flyover projects) did not consider the social cost, the traffic time flow and other aspects so the flyover would really be properly managed,” said Fr. Margarito Alingasa, TWG member.
He also said there was no cost-benefit analysis, prediction on the probable change of traffic flow and there was no appropriate consultation of the people in the area of the proposed flyover projects.
“There is no discussion as to the implication of putting of a flyover in place,” said Alingasa, who is also a member of the Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water.
Alingasa, Engr. Gloria Madrona and Architect Omar Maxwell Espina made Wednesday the presentation at a forum organized by the Movement for a Livable Cebu (MLC) to a group composed of students, members of the academe, environmentalists and personnel from the Asilo dela Milagrosa.
The TWG spent six weeks discussing and studying nine traffic management plans dating back to the 1980s, including the Metro Cebu Land Use and Transport Study (Mcluts).
“The findings were very clear. It's about time we did some planning. The plan should be comprehensive that would take into account everything, the Mcluts study did that,” said Espina, an urban planner.
He said the flyovers are “disruptive, ugly, and make our city look very Third World.”
“We tried to make it (TWG study) objective and present this to the RDC. (But) it's not being accepted,” the architect said.
“Our city is charming because it is small and it is easy to identify places and things. In planning, there should be a sense of place. This (city) is something worth fighting for, study for,” he added.
Rudy Alix, MLC member, said the group is keen on initiating legal action as part of efforts to stop the construction of flyovers on Gorordo and Gen. Maxilom Aves.
He asked the crowd if they were amendable to bringing the issue before the Office of the Ombudsman or to the courts.
Many of the participants answered, “Yes!”
Espina also proposed that the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), a constitutional body mandated to plan, should do the planning.
“They (Neda) should take the cudgels for the Cebuanos,” he said.
In a separate interview, Neda representative Aina Hubahib told reporters that the agency welcomes the recognition from the group.
“Over the years, there have been governance policies like the Local Government Code giving autonomy to the local government units and the local development councils as a venue for the private sector to be part of the planning process,” she said.
She added that the programs should have been consulted at the lowest level.
For now, Hubahib said, as one of the remedies, Neda could collect the plans, since civil society has strongly opposed flyover projects.
“We will re-visit (the plans), throw back to them (local government units),” she added.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who was present at the start of the presentation, urged the participants of the forum to “fight for your right.”
“If your leaders do not stand for what you believe in, stand for what you believe in,” said Rama.
Honor to Pope
On Labella’s ordinance, Dakay said the church is “very glad” and “most grateful” for the proposed legislation.
Fr. Dan delos Angeles, for his part, also favored Labella’s proposed measure, saying it will bring honor to Pope John Paul II.
It will also remind people of his visit in the city in February 1981 during his Apostolic Voyage, as well as of his beatification of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, an 18-year-old Cebuano who was martyred in Guam in 1672.
Juan Luna Ave. houses several spiritual shelters that include St. Joseph Parish, the Carmelites Monastery, and three diocesan seminaries.
Delos Angeles said renaming Juan Luna Ave. to Pope John Paul II Ave. will close the loop of streets named after religious leaders, “securing” the city’s business district.
During the public hearing Wednesday, Dakay and delos Angeles brought along with them more than 1,000 signatures they have gathered expressing support for the passage of Labella’s proposed ordinance. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 15, 2011.