Too many coincidences?

Many years ago I held official government positions… to name a few, governor, secretary of public works, etc. So, when I suggested to President Ferdinand E. Marcos (who was then running for reelection) – that we construct the first bridge connecting Mandaue City, Cebu, to Mactan island, he immediately approved and implemented my suggestion. The person who conceived the idea was Pascual Racuyal, a Cebuano who lived in the same barrio that I grew up in i.e., Barrio Tinago, Cebu City.

At present, I am not even an active member of a political party. I don’t think I have any influence on anyone who is in public office. However, since I am a citizen of this republic, I continue to write in my column some ideas which I sincerely believe will help our country.

For example as certain politicians in Cebu floated the idea that the Mactan International Airport should be closed and transferred somewhere, I noticed that some real estate companies immediately showed an interest to develop it into a mall with the usual high rises. I wrote several articles stating my objections since in my view, aside from Mactan island, there is no other site in Cebu where an International Airport could be established. I took a strong position that instead - Mactan Airport should be expanded and modernized and part of that expansion should be the purchase of additional land area in order to build a future second runway at the appropriate time. Perhaps by chance I was fortunate that the idea of Mactan’s expansion is now being implemented by GMR Megawide Consortium.

Sometime ago I proposed the building of a “Dike Loop Road” plus land reclamation around Laguna de Bay. Again by some coincidence, the proposed road has now been opened for bidding by the Department of Public Works. About a dozen big companies have expressed interest in participating in the bidding.

I am aware that certain LGU Officials have remarked that they were not consulted regarding the project. By all means, they should be consulted. For their information, my proposal was only the first phase, i.e., from Makati-Taguig to Calamba, Laguna. My concept is simply this – that the Laguna Project be similar to the spokes of a wheel with as many roads connected to the “loop” as there are ideas to connect it north, south, east, west, etc, with the lake as a central point.

The third public works suggestion that I made some months ago was when I was guest speaker for the combined media group of Cebu, i.e., print and electronic. I explained to them the need to have either a new bridge or tunnel from Cebu City to Cordova, Mactan Island. I estimated that at least half of the traffic crossing the two bridges to Mactan via Mandaue comes from the City of Cebu and the southern towns and cities of the province of Cebu.

Anyway, again by some coincidence, there is now an unsolicited P16.88-billion proposal by Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. to construct a third bridge and its four components that will connect Cebu City to Mactan island and its International Airport. The first component is the box girder bridge costing P4.55-billion. The second is the one lane on ramp from Cebu South Coastal Road, viaduct above the Guadalupe River costing P3.653-billion. The third, On the Cordova side a 4.58 kilometer causeway with a cost of P2.945-illion. The fourth, four-lane road running parallel to Pilipog River which is 960 meters to the Mactan circumferential road, cost: P141-million… Toll plaza and other items P2.672-illion.

Some years ago, in order to solve the shortage of electric power and to at least recover some of the $2 billion which our government had spent on our nuclear power plant (without any beneficial return on its investment), I proposed that since the nuclear heating component of the boiler part of the plant was junked, why not build a new steam boiler to run the 600-mega watt generator which I believe is still intact? The fuel for the boiler will be natural gas just like the one produced by Malampaya. I believe this idea is feasible. Secretary Jericho Petilla what do you say?