CEBU was the heart of the opposition to Ferdinand Marcos during his martial law regime. We had in our midst not only the most outspoken critics of martial law but also the most committed supporters who braved being doused with water from hoses of fire trucks if only to show their resolve in fighting for civil liberties. Most rallies were well-attended.

In contrast, the rallies against President Duterte have not drawn a sizable crowd here. Last Sunday, no more than three hundred gathered in front of the Capitol before marching to the Redemptorist church where a mass for healing was held. Archbishop Jose Palma did not attend even if the “Heal Our Land Sunday” was a CBCP initiative.

Instead, the Cebu archbishop sent a statement, which a nun read, exhorting the faithful to be “one in our prayer for healing especially the healing of our consciences”, which, he said, “have been blurred by selfishness and despair” and “dulled and deadened by indifference.”

Indifference was in full view at the Capitol gathering Sunday afternoon. Is it because the Cebuanos actually believe that there is nothing to complain about because President Duterte is doing the right thing?

•••

Reading the newspaper reports on the recent landslide in Boljoon, you get the impression that the apocalypse has descended upon my wife’s hometown. Of course, it is not true.

It is not as if nothing happened in Boljoon because a landslide did occur in a small section of the town. But the reports have been grossly exaggerated. Famine is not threatening the families who had been evacuated and the town itself is not in any danger of sinking or being inundated by an avalanche of earth and water.

Relocating the affected residents to safer areas and helping them rebuild their homes are a concern but it is nothing that a competent local government cannot address. Sure, help from anywhere or anyone would be welcome but, holy cow, did they really scream “Help Us” as one newspaper bannered the other day?

Get the people out of the danger zone, permanently ban the building of houses in it, clear the river of obstruction and render the road to San Antonio accessible again. Couldn’t all these be done without much fanfare?

If there is anything good that the abundant publicity on the landslide brought to Boljoon, it was the visit of Presidential Assistant Michael Dino, who broached the idea of building another road that would link the poblacion and the mountain barangays. There is currently only one such road and not only is it narrow, it is also in a state of disrepair.

If Dino can have a second one constructed by the national government, the province can take care not only of repairing the existing one but of extending it to Malabuyoc on the west and Alcoy on the north. In fact, if I were Gov. Junjun Davide, I would already instruct my engineers to do the preliminary survey for the repair and extension work without waiting for Dino’s proposal to take shape.