Sunday August 19, 2018

Malilong: Referendum on the BRT

THERE you go. The World Bank says the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is technically viable, giving lie to the claim that it will not work here because Cebu City’s roads are narrow. So what are we waiting for?

Or more accurately, what is Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade waiting for?

I hope BRT critics will not question the qualifications or the motive of the World Bank experts who made the assessment. That would be the height of mental dishonesty.

The WB is not into politics. It does not care if Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña gets the credit as I think he should for having foreseen as early as 20 years ago the terrible traffic problem that we now have to deal with and, having so foreseen, thought of a way to address it.

You can dislike Osmeña, even hate him. But you have to admit, even if grudgingly, that he has a vision for the city. You only need to look at the South Road Properties (SRP), a project that many ridiculed when Osmeña proposed it but which has become so successful, almost every politician now wants to have a say on how to manage it.

Indeed, it seems to me that the problem some people have with the BRT is not that it will not work but that it might and then Osmeña will gloat about it. When a public interest issue turns personal and egos clash, who will suffer but us, the people?

In case you haven’t noticed, the argument over the BRT has always been about what they think, never about how we feel about it and whether we want it or not. This classic “Daddy knows best” mentality is infuriating.

If they still could not agree on whether or not to proceed with the BRT despite the WB recommendation, isn’t it time to submit it to the Cebuanos for decision?


Three Catholic priests have been killed in the last six months. Is it a coincidence that it happened during the term of a president who has declared that he and priests are “eternally at odds with each other”?

Palace spokesperson Harry Roque is less concerned with the killings than with what he claims as an attempt by lawless elements to sow divisiveness between his boss and the Church.

“In this nationwide drive, lawless elements will seek to block our efforts by sowing division and creating animosity, even exploiting crimes like the killing of priests,” Roque said.

Excuse me, Harry but with your boss himself declaring that he and the priests are “eternally at odds with each other,” why is there still a need for creating animosity between this administration and the Church? I can’t figure that out.

And when the bishops appeal to the president “to stop the verbal persecution of the Catholic church because such attacks can unwittingly embolden more crimes against priests,” are they also sowing division and creating animosity?