Carvajal: Runaway bus

Carvajal: Runaway bus

Up till now Singapore-like remains a hazy concept. But with the recent report that P50 billion will be raised through higher taxes to finance it, it’s time Mayor Mike Rama answers some core questions of his dream, or is it fantasy?

Foremost is the question—does he intend to bring the quality of life of Cebu City residents up to par with that of Singaporeans? But this is an incredibly tall order. Hence, could it be that he simply dreams of making Cebu City’s streets, sidewalks, and creeks as clean as Singapore’s? If so, what happens to the people who will be displaced and lose their livelihoods?

Like part of the mayor’s dream is the current privatization of the Carbon market. It is done at the expense of the livelihoods of small ambulant vendors who at the moment are scrambling to survive with much lower sales or no sales at all in customer-unfrequented places they have been relegated to in the new Carbon.

(Mayor Rama might as well rename it; it’s not Carbon Market anymore. Not so much that it is beautiful, more orderly and sanitary now as that it is no longer the public market where small vendors and producers could have their miscellaneous products sold and bought at customer friendly prices.)

Elsewhere, some 14,000 families are facing the grim prospect of their homes being demolished without any clear provision from City Hall for a suitable relocation site. Not even a mechanism by which Rama can listen to the relocation problems these families cannot solve without the City’s unequivocal help.

And what about the obstacles towards attaining his dream not the least of which are the incompetence and corruption of government officials and the lack of discipline of Cebuanos? Will Mayor Rama raise the standards of competence and integrity of City officials to the level of their Singaporean counterparts? And will he discipline City residents so they obey traffic rules and dispose of their trash properly as Singaporeans do?

These are herculean tasks Mayor Rama will be crazy to think can be done in his first term. Or is it his idea to use his Singapore-like dream to entice people to elect him to two more terms so he can fulfill his Singapore-like (impossible?) dream? Still, there are just too many variables for this to be attained in three terms.

Any way Mayor Rama defines it, the ultimate question is what is the price for his Singapore-like fantasy? P50 billion will most probably cover the cost of physical infrastructures. What about the people he seems to be disrespectfully and uncaringly (not very Singapore-like of him, is it?) throwing under the bus? What price will they pay?

Mayor Rama needs to go easy and take the time to sell his dream by respecting the so-far-ignored rights of the project’s prospective victims. (Yes, I said victims.) The least he can do is hear these people out who are worried sick and to death about being run over by his runaway Singapore-like bus.


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