Nalzaro: ‘Killing’ SM Seaside softly

HERE he goes again running after the management of SM Prime Holdings. In the guise of implementing a new traffic scheme, the “former political has-been” ordered the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) to prohibit motorists from making a left turn at the Mambaling access road going to SM Seaside Mall. Meaning, if you are going to SM Seaside from N. Bacalso Ave., you can no longer make a left turn under the flyover. You have to drive a few kilometers to the boundary of Cebu City and Talisay City to make a U-turn and go back to the city. Then that is the time you can make a right turn to SM Seaside using the Mambaling access road.

If you are coming from Talisay using the south coastal road, you cannot also make a left turn to the Mambaling access road to N. Bacalso Ave. You have to make a U-turn under the bridge near the Ludo and Luym plant or to the viaduct near the underpass then back to SM Seaside before you can make a right to get to N. Bacalso.

Imagine the hassle? SM shoppers will have to drive several kilometers away before they can reach their destination. This will practically discourage SM Seaside customers from visiting the mall. Even I won’t go there if this is the scenario. Hassle na kaayo. Unya, unsa man goy naa diha nga dili nato mapalit sa ubang shopping malls. This is not to mention the heavy traffic we frequently experience on the national highway going to the south. There is also an ongoing construction of an underpass in the Mambaling area that’s contributing to the heavy traffic.

The “former political has-been” said that he implemented the traffic scheme because of the traffic accidents in that intersection. His view was also echoed by CCTO officials. Well, I don’t have any figures as to the number of traffic accidents that takes place in the area. I doubt the CCTO can also present figures to convince the public about their claim.

But is it really because of traffic accidents or does the “former political has-been” have any ulterior motive to run after SM Prime Holdings, the proprietor of SM Seaside? I pose this question because this new traffic scheme seems to isolate the shopping mall by blocking all its entry points and access. This will discourage customers from going to the mall because they have to travel extra kilometers. Samot na langawon ang SM Seaside ani.

We already know the background of this “hullabaloo” between SM Prime Holdings and the “former political has-been.” It was purely political and personal. While he was out of City Hall after being defeated by Mike Rama, he asked the management of SM Prime Holdings together with Filinvest not to buy lots at the South Road Properties until he regained control of City Hall. But the two leading real estate developers together with Ayala Land (in consortium with SM) defied his request and dealt with the Rama administration.

That’s how it started. Now, as “resbak,” he wants to “kill” the company’s businesses here because of his personal motive. After winning the last elections, his first order of the day was to rescind the contracts of the three developers. But until now, he has failed to do that. He ordered the Office of the Building Officials to inspect the installation of the mall’s air-conditioning units and escalator by computing the actual land area it occupied so that City Hall can collect taxes. He ordered the dismantling of the mall’s “cube,” which he claimed encroached on the sidewalk. The public works and highways demolished the front row of SM because it encroached on the sidewalk along the south coastal road. He ran after Banco de Oro Magallanes branch claiming it did not pay the rightful taxes. This is his way of “killing” SM softly.

The “former political has-been’s” motive in running after businessmen who cross his path is not good for investment and the city’s business climate. His way of dealing with them will discourage investors from putting up their investments here. Cebu City is not a business-friendly city with the kind of attitude displayed by this “former political has-been.” #gukodpamore.
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