Briones: Green is the way to go

THE dust from the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections had already settled when I returned to Cebu from a three-day trip to the neighboring island of Bohol.

During my stay there, I made it a point not to watch the news on TV or read the newspaper. I didn’t even open my Facebook account.

So I had no idea that Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña had finally gotten what he fervently wished for.

With majority of poll winners allied to his Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan, the next two ex-officio members of the City Council will most likely tow the party line.

So what Tomas wants, Tomas will probably get.

From now on, members of the opposition will face an uphill battle unless, of course, a miracle occurs. But we all know that hardly happens in politics.

Still, they endorsed reelected Tisa Barangay Captain Philip Zafra as president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), saying he is the “most logical” option since he is the present head of the ABC.

Well, there’s no harm in trying.

Meanwhile, I guess the unsolicited proposal of Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) for a joint-venture project with the City Government to develop Kawit Island at the South Road Properties at a tune of P18 billion will finally get off the drawing board.

To those who still don’t know, UHRI’s proposed development will consist of “a commercial and shopping center, a theater for performing arts, a convention center, an integrated resort and gaming facility, three hotels, a theme park, a public art installation and parking facilities.”

The City will get a 10-percent share from the lease of commercial and shopping areas, hotels and the integrated resort, and 15 percent from the casino’s operation.

I actually look forward to the convention center, the theme park and the public art installation. That is, if the project does push through.


But I hope the developer and the City will also set aside space for real greenery. By that, I mean a small park with real grass and real flowers and real trees where members of the public can get in touch with nature after losing their hard-earned money at the casino, if they’re unlucky, or enjoy nature’s bounty, if they hit the jackpot.

Either way, the city needs parks.

Trust me, Plaza Independencia and Fuente Rotunda do not qualify. By the way, Jovy, Dodong Morallo and Roger, Freedom Park, Parklane and Cempark do not count.

Actually, the closest thing to a park in the city is the Family Park in Barangay Talamban.

But hey, at least Cebu City has one. The same cannot be said of its neighbors Mandaue, Talisay and Lapu-Lapu.

I know land is a premium in our neck of the woods, but if UHRI can afford to invest billions in mixed-use development, it can spare a few millions to ensure that a revamped Kawit Island will also be eco- and people-friendly.

Now that, I can support.


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