Cracks still there, unfixed-A A +A
Friday, March 1, 2013
TWO years after a crack was found on the head of the fountain at the Fuente Osmeña circle, repair has not started even if a budget has been earmarked for it.
Dr. Librando Macaraya of the Cebu City Parks and Playgrounds Commission said that P100,000 has been set aside for the repair but because there is an ongoing litigation on the ownership of the City’s landmark, work cannot proceed.
Macaraya had told reporters about the cracks in the fountainhead in a press conference in September 2011.
Mayor Michael Rama wants to start the repair soon and will discuss the matter with acting Gov. Agnes Magpale.
“Better to go through with the repair rather than let it be in bad shape because of politics,” he said.
He told a news conference yesterday that he will write Magpale and ask for a meeting.
Rama said he wants the City Legal Office to be represented in the discussion, and suggested that Magpale also bring Capitol lawyers.
Businessman Michel Lhuillier, who contributes substantially for the upkeep of the Cebu City landmark, will also be invited to the meeting.
In an interview yesterday, Magpale said she is willing to meet with Rama to discuss the rehabilitation of the fountain.
“We will cooperate, Cebu gud na,” she said.
Rama said it is important to preserve the landmark, and he should not be accused of politicking. After all, the landmark is named after the family name of his main political nemesis, he said.
The mayor said he hopes the Province and the City will be united in this project, considering that Magpale is now acting governor.
It was during the term of Rep. Tomas Osmeña as city mayor and suspended governor Gwendolyn Garcia when the ownership of the Fuente Osmeña circle was questioned in court.
Capitol sued the City in 2007 in a bid to recover the property.
Because of Capitol’s contention, the repair of the fountain was stalled.
“Primordial consideration should be on heritage preservation,” Rama said.
Macaraya said, though, that Capitol has not been part of the management of Fuente Osmeña. The City Government and the Lhuillers have been managing the landmark.
Another property that is the subject of a separate case for recovery of possession filed by the Capitol is the Cebu City Zoo, which is now managed by the Parks and Playgrounds Commission.
Macaraya said the improvement of the zoo has likewise been stalled, but not because of question question on its ownership.
Councilor Nida Cabrera earlier reported the amount spent for the comfort rooms built in the zoo. Each of the four comfort rooms was built for P1.2 million, raising eyebrows of the members of the commission.
Change of design
The commission then changed the design so that each of the four structures would not solely be for comfort rooms. One of the new designs will include a nursery.
The management of the zoo was transferred from the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries to the commission because it is considered more of a park than a facility for animal care.
Meanwhile, Magpale will also call for a Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB) meeting on March 6 to discuss problems common to Metro Cebu towns and cities and to present the three-year Mega Cebu Development Plan.
Roberto Aboitiz, president of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., briefed Magpale yesterday on their upcoming MCDCB meeting.
The meeting will be attended by 13 Metro Cebu town and city mayors and another meeting has been set on March 20, where the three-year development plan will be presented and discussed.
Proposals to create a metro-wide body, similar to the MCDCB, were made in the House of Representatives nearly two decades ago, but none have yet to be enacted into law.
The concept of a Mega Cebu was presented by Aboitiz during one of the MCDCB meetings at the Capitol in 2011.
The concept is for 13 cities and municipalities, from Danao City to Carcar City, to make an integrated development plan, rather than fragmented plans, on traffic, drainage and peace and order, some of the concerns common to all local government units (LGUs).
Magpale cited Yokohama in Japan and Singapore as some of the well-planned cities that they want to pattern Metro Cebu after.
“That is what they want to happen here in Cebu,” said Magpale.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 01, 2013.