JICA officials’ concern-A A +A
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama was reportedly irked when officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) expressed disappointment over the slow growth of the South Road Properties (SRP). JICA provided the loan for the construction of the SRP, former mayor Tomas Osmeña’s supposed “baby.”
“I didn’t like it. I am thankful for the loan but kinsa’y tag-iya sa SRP, sila o kita?” Rama said in what can be considered as his attempt to approximate Osmeña’s taray ways. The reaction again fell flat, of course, because it missed the point. JICA officials were not staking a claim to the SRP but merely expressing their concern.
Who wouldn’t, especially if you are not a politician but a development planner and you see how the multi-billion-peso project is being managed? Besides, Cebu City has not completed payment of the loan, so making the SRP earn by fully developing it works to JICA’s benefit.
Indeed, several years after the project was completed, why is there more grass than infrastructure in the SRP? There are actually a number of reasons for that and one of them is the continued refusal of the city to follow one JICA suggestion: set up a separate office to manage the SRP to shield it from politicking and politicians.
The current SRP management setup, which is controlled by Osmeña even if Rama, a political rival, is already the mayor, is certainly a turnoff for potential investors other than those who are friends of the former mayor. Who would invest in an enclave run unprofessionally?
I pity my cousin, Cebu City Councilor Noel Wenceslao, for being pushed into an awkward position by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK). That proposed ordinance of his, which provides that no person, employee or official of the City Government will be authorized to sell, dispose, transfer or convey any lots in the SRP without prior approval from the City Council, was indeed ill-advised.
His colleagues should have told him that such an ordinance is redundant considering the laws already in place for the purpose. What I am saying is that Noel does not deserve the tag of “ignorant” that Rama pinned on him. It’s rather harsh. The Noel I know is intelligent and not naïve.
It looks like north district Rep. Rachel Marguerite “Cutie” del Mar and her father Raul has been partly vindicated on the flyover issue. The central office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has given the go-signal for the construction of the flyover at the intersection of Gen. Maxilom and M.J. Cuenco avenues.
Protests have earlier followed the announcement of the construction of the said flyover and the one along Gorordo Ave. (beside the Asilo de la Milagrosa), prompting Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson to defer the projects’ implementation. After a study, DPWH has decided to proceed with the Gen. Maxilom-M.J. Cuenco project. For Gorordo, it recommended the construction of an underpass instead.
This does not mean that the anti-flyover protests were a failure. After all, the protesters have successfully raised the awareness of Cebuanos regarding the use and construction of flyovers. Protesters were also able to send a message to our lawmakers that people should be involved in the plotting of projects, especially those funded by their pork barrel. Projects should not also be planned willy-nilly.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 28, 2012.