Missing lampposts, stolen parts delay efforts to revitalize Osmeña Blvd.
Several lampposts installed a year ago along Osmeña Boulevard are missing glass covers and other parts, the target of vandals even before they could be lighted up by the Beautiful Cebu Movement.
Mariquita Salimbangon Yeung, chairperson of the movement’s foundation, yesterday appealed for the police and barangay officials to help secure the lampposts.
“We have to replace the missing lampposts and those with stolen parts because these are already damaged. It’s painful to do but we have to do it,” she said.
Yeung said acts of vandalism have set back their work schedule which they wanted to complete in time for the thanksgiving mass for Pedro Calungsod in November 21. The national event is expected to bring thousands of pilgrims and visitors to Cebu City.
“We have to finish this kay maulaw na ko sa taga Cebu City ,” said Yeung in a luncheon meeting with barangay captains Jerome Lim of Sta. Cruz, Jerry Guardo of Sambag 1, Manuel Guanzon of Capitol Site and Stephen Carl Belarmino of Sambag II.
Each imported lamppost from China cost P10,000.
About 175 were installed along Osmeña Boulevard from the Provicnial Capitol to Sanciangko Street with funds raised from private sector donations, including a P1 million donation from Yeung to start the ball rolling for a donation drive last year to raise P55 million to revitalize Cebu’s largest boulevard.
The black fiberglass lampposts are mounted on a concrete base and have glass globes encasing the bulbs.
They go with ongoing efforts to repave sidewalks with red brick trim and repair plant boxes.
The decorative posts resemble wrought iron street lamps that are a common sight in European countries, a design intended to evoke the Spanish era heritage of Cebu.
Mayor Michael Rama said the police should take action.
“The police are just nearby. That is there challenge. Where is the chief of police?” Rama said.
Capitol Site barangay captain Manuel Guanzon said missing fixtures in his barangay were mostly stolen by children loitering in the streets who would sell parts to scrap dealers.
He suggested that lampposts be bolted down and welded to the concrete base.
“Pila ray ilang ma kwarta ana pero ang damage nga ilang na dala daku kaayo,” said Guanzon. (How much does a thief make with that compared to the damage caused? )
Yeung yesterday appealed to barangay officials and owners of establishments along Osmena Boulevard to help secure the lampposts and finish the sidewalk beautification program.
At the start of his administration in 2010, Mayor Rama invited friends in the private sector to help develop the city. He introduced Yeung as one of the them.
The Beautiful Cebu Movement started to raise funds for the sidewalk beautification program last year and organized a walk in May 2011 to encourage business owners and Cebuanos to help raise a target P55 million.
Gov. Gwen Garcia and Mayor Rama, who joined the walk, pledged their support.
Governor Garcia tapped nine Cebu province project contractors to help facelift sidewalks on both sides of Osmena Boulevard from the Capitol grounds to Fuente Osmeña.
The sidewalk was repaved with cement before red bricks and pebble washout were applied. The lampposts were added to give it a Spanish era ambience.
So far, 72 per cent of the route from Osmeña Boulevard up to Sanciangko Street is completed, said organizers.
Work is ongoing in the sidewalk near the Abellana National High School and the City Central School.
Rehabilitation works have yet to start on both sides of the boulevard from the intersection of P. del Rosario to Sanciangko Street and from Club Ultima to BPI.
A program of works and cost estimate prepared by architect Tessie Javier showed that rehabilitation works needed P3.5 million.
Yeung said the movement could advance the money for this and bill owners of nearby establishments later.
“They already agreed to help but nothing has moved yet,” said Paul Hubahib, the mayor’s executive assistant tasked to coordinate with the movement.
Yeung and Beautiful Cebu Movement president Joje Decal inspected Osmeña Boulevard sidewalk rehabilitation works yesterday morning.
They noticed a missing lamppost at the sidewalk of the Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) beside Camp Sergio Osmeña and across the Fuente Osmena Police Station.
A nearby lamppost had a broken glass case.
Another lamppost in front of the PhilAm Life Building about 20 meters away also had missing bulbs.
A pay-per-use toilet obstructing the sidewalk near the Department of Health (DOH) regional office needs to be relocated, Yeung noted. Hubahib said he will find a new site for it.
During the lunch meeting, Guanzon reported that at least six lampposts in barangay Capitol Site, including one in front of Anitas Bakeshop, were vandalized by street children.
The bulbs have lot their protective covering exposing electrical connections to the elements. He said there was a danger of accidental electrical grounding when it rains.
Guanzon said he asked security guards of nearby business establishments to help secure these lampposts and offered a P5, 000 reward if they can arrest lampposts thieves and vandals.
“What are the commitment of the other barangay captains? We want to give security to you as your responsibility,” said Yeung in the meeting.
Mayor Rama who dropped by the meeting at the Casino Espanol expressed dismay over the failure of police to secure the lampposts in their areas and said they deserve to be replaced if they can’t.
But for now, he said he won’t intervene because he wants to let the Beautiful Cebu Movement address the matter as part of the “private -public partnership”.
“The rehabilitation project will be finished but the most important aspect is maintenance ,” he said.
Sambag 1 barangay captain Jerry Guardo promised to replace stolen lampposts in his area.
He also offered to provide free labor for rehabilitating a 100-meter portion of the sidewalk of Osmeña Boulevard from the Abellana National High School to the Shell Gas station.
He said work can start on Wednesday if the movement provides the construction materials.
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