Malilong: Palliative

Frank Malilong
·3 min read

Vice Mayor Michael Rama is right. Flyovers will not make our traffic woes disappear. At best, they are palliatives. The best approach to the problem is to expand our roads.

But how doable is road widening? The cost of acquiring private property alone will be enormous. All the city’s streets, except those in the mountain barangays, have concrete buildings erected on both sides. Do you think the owners will consent to have their property demolished, even if partly, to give way to a widened road?

Besides, expropriation is going to be a long and a tedious process so that by the time the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has taken possession of the property, the proposed widened road will no longer be sufficient to meet the traffic demand. If property owners complain about damage to the view around their premises, how willing will they give them up altogether even if just compensation is paid?

How many years ago did the DPWH start construction of the Metro Cebu Expressway from Naga City to Danao City? And where are they now? I doubt if they had bulldozed at least one third of the 73.7 kilometer road. Last time I heard, they were still negotiating with the land owners affected by the construction.

While the flyover is a mere palliative, not the solution, it does work. Look at that elevated road along the Banilad-Talamban road. Before the flyover, it would take very long to cross Juan Luna St. from the Bureau of Internal Revenue towards the Cebu Country Club because of the long line of vehicles competing for every available feet of the narrow strip. Traffic still occurs in the vicinity during peak hours, there’s no denying that, but without the flyover, it would have been many times worse.

We cannot just say no to flyovers simply because they are an eyesore. Our development projects cannot always be dictated by aesthetics but by utility. If skyways are inherently bad and useless, how do you explain the fact that they have become fixtures in many major cities in the world?

The kneejerk reaction to the proposed flyovers is also partly the fault of the DPWH. They do not seem to understand the value of consulting with local officials before submitting their flyover projects to Manila for funding. Such disrespect is unacceptable.

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There is a law that punishes point-shaving in sports competitions. I look forward to its vigorous application in the case of that disgrace of a basketball game between Siquijor and Lapu-Lapu in the VisMin Super Cup last week. I heard that one of the Siquijor players was also suspected of involvement in game fixing in another tournament, the Maharlika Cup of Manny Pacquiao. If true, the player is in more trouble than he can imagine.

My friend, Jerry Roa wrote to say that his gut feel was that there was a “human resource/labor/organizational issue” involved in the behavior of the players. “Or at the very least, some officials, player or team just wanted to get the hell out of the tournament already,” Jerry said.

Whatever it was that caused their disgraceful conduct, they still deserve to be punished — jailed in the case of those who sold the game.