Talisay heroes-A A +A
Sunday, August 18, 2013
SECONDS after the collision of two aging ships past 9 p.m. last Friday night at the Lawis Ledge some 1.5 kilometers off the shores of Talisay City, somebody woke up my fisherman-friend Magam in Barangay Cansojong.
At that moment, fishermen from the coastal barangays in Talisay were racing towards the collision site to save whoever they could. Over 800 passengers and crew were onboard mv Thomas Aquinas of 2GO Corp. that sank in just 10 minutes after its collision with the cargo ship Span Asia/Express Siete of Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.
Magam usually sleeps early because he goes out to sea at dawn. But that night, Magam’s group fished out from the oily waters 14 survivors. In the morning, they went out again to look for more.
Based on stories relayed to me, there were probably hundreds of fishermen in small bancas that could accommodate only one or two survivors to the bigger pump boats like the one owned by Magam. They all responded instantly to the emergency before official rescue teams could react. Their heroic actions saved hundreds.
I learned about the accident Friday night from the taxi driver as we cruised through the Cebu South Coastal Road late Saturday evening. Dozens of vehicles–including ambulances and police cars–were parked outside the Talisay City fish port when I stopped over at a convenience store across the road. Two cops who happened to be inside the store gave me the latest update.
As I am writing this, the news online noted 645 passengers and 106 crew members rescued as of 5 p.m. Saturday. The accident left 31 confirmed dead with 172 people still missing.
What is wrong with the Talisay City Fish Port? At least it was useful during rescue operations over the weekend. But it had been a white elephant since its inauguration on the eve of GMA’s presidency in 2010.
She inaugurated the Macapagal-Gullas port in Barangay Tangke, Talisay City on July 28, 2010 yet.
Then representative Eduardo Gullas said the 1.8-hectare project worth P136.4 million will service roll-on, roll-off vessels and accommodate fish vendors from all over Cebu Province. After more than four years, the facility has yet to function as a fish port.
Dili kuno diay white elephant. Gipintalan man og light blue.
I hope Mayor JVR could finally make use of the facility in the service of the people
and also earn income for the City. Tul-iron man kaha nato ang hiwi sa miaging panahon?
Gov. Hilario Davide III immediately raised real estate taxes in the province without fear of a backlash from big-time taxpayers. The governor has balls.
I remember one city mayor in southern Cebu telling me that losing big businesses is less of his worries in raising taxes. “Wa man na sila mamaligya og saging nga mamutos dayon ug mobalhin kon mahal ang arkibala,” he said. Besides, if the additional taxes will result in better services, these big businessmen will stay for good.
Big businesses in Cebu City, however, are happy with Mayor Mike Rama because he refused to heed the recommendations of the city assessor and the Commission on Audit to raise real estate taxes. The move could address the low collections so far and perhaps the nearly P1-billion overdraft City Hall incurred in 2012.
I would just like to clarify that tax mapping will increase the tax for those who registered their real estate as residential but have began converting part or the whole property into businesses. Most likely, these are small struggling businessmen. Tax mapping won’t affect big businesses in Cebu City.
To make my point simpler to imagine, an owner of a sari-sari store might have decided to convert the rest of his ground floor into a bodega and moved his family upstairs.
Or he may have rented part of his residence to a lechon manok or hamburger franchise. So his house is not anymore strictly residential.
But tax mapping won’t affect SM City, Filinvest, Robinsons, or Gaisano Metro. By adjusting real estate taxes, these big businessmen will be paying much bigger increases than we ordinary mortals. But do you expect these businesses to leave Cebu City immediately? Maybe sometime in the far future if the higher taxes won’t translate into better services and infrastructure.
Thus, Mayor Rama should think not twice but thrice. Will he squeeze only the small fry but spare the big fishes (or translate that into big campaign contributors)?
Let’s just say these are the contrasting qualities and moves of our governor and mayor sa pagtul-id sa hiwi.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 19, 2013.