Editorial: No prior warning

Editorial: No prior warning

Drivers of van-for-hire (V-hire) who used the vacant lot along Junquera St. in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City as a terminal for southbound travelers were well aware their stay there was temporary.

They knew that the City Government could expel them from the area at any time.

In March 2017, then city councilor now Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia lodged a criminal complaint against then mayor Tomas Osmeña before the anti-graft office for the continued operation of the Kamagayan terminal.

Garcia had said the operation of the terminal “violated several provisions of CO (City Ordinance) 1958, which included the prohibition on establishing the facility within the 300-meter radius from a block that includes the central downtown area.”

No arguments there.

When the administration in Cebu City changed hands, the barangay asked if it could build a sports complex on the lot in 2019, but its request was denied by the City Legal Office.

The barangay was told it could continue to use the area as a terminal but the City would eventually take it back because of its plan to set up a five-story tenement building there.

Before the elections on May 9, 2022, Mayor Michael Rama presented his plans and programs should he be given a chance to lead again, and that included a medium-rise building on the lot that a private lot developer would build for the City’s socialized housing program.

Rama won, and that was the last that was heard of the issue, until last Friday, April 28, 2023.

Out of the blue, Cebu City Transportation Office personnel, led by Raquel Arce, arrived in the afternoon and told V-hire drivers and operators they had 30 minutes to vacate the premises.

No ifs, ands, or buts.

The drivers and operators had hoped for a lucrative day, as people living in the south of the province were expected to go home for the long weekend. The sudden turn of events left many scratching their heads, while some decided to go home.

Arce already gave them their marching orders and told them to proceed to accredited terminals.

The City clamped the vans whose drivers were not in the vicinity.

As for the hundreds of passengers who showed up, they were greeted by a yellow barricade that was set up to block the area from outsiders.

The City knew beforehand what it had planned to do. It had all the time to inform the drivers, the operators, the passengers and even the vendors at the “unaccredited” terminal about the date and time of the closure so they could prepare.

The least it could have done was to post a sign or issue an announcement at least a week prior or even the day before so the riding public would know where to go to catch a ride instead of catching them all off guard.

On Saturday, April 29, passengers had gathered along Sanciangko St., hoping to catch a southbound van. Most of them had been there for more than an hour.

They all agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity. They all shared their frustration at the inconvenience caused by the van terminal’s sudden closure.

Perhaps they had missed the sign the City had posted at the barricaded terminal, directing them to the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. and the Cebu North Bus Terminal at SM City Cebu.


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