President endorses BO-PK ,Cebu Liberal allies and flyovers; 65,000 at Capitol rally
In a speech in front of the Capitol where police estimated 65,000 gathered, the President raised the urban problem of traffic congestion.
“Sa totoo lang po mahal ko kayo. Sa katunayan may problema tayo sa traffic dito. Kung may flyover mas tuloy tuloy, walang hintuan ang daloy ng traffic.gandang solusyon ang flyover meron namang ibang solusyon.”
(To be honest, I love you all here in Cebu. But in fact, we have a problem with traffic here. If we have a flyover, traffic would flow more smoothly. That’s just my idea. But if you feel that having flyovers is not a good solution, we’ll think of other solutions.)
On stage, the President raised the hands of Liberal Party candidates for Cebu City – Rep. Tomas Osmeña for mayor and re-electionist Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young.
He also endorsed LP gubernatorial bet Hilario Davide III and his running mate acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale, saying Cebuanos were “very lucky” to have leaders ready to bring about change.
Aquino echoed their Cebuano slogan “Ang limbong sugpu-on, ang sayop saktuhon”. (Stop the deception. Correct the wrongdoing.)
The stage was built on the front steps of the Provincial Capitol, where four months earlier President Aquino’s suspension order unseated three-term Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who called her punishment “dirty politics” and a power play by the Liberal Party to dominate Cebu, whose 2.5 million voters make it the largest vote-rich province.
Osmeña, in an interview, said he chose the Capitol as venue fo the proclamation rally to send a clear message that Garcia was no longer around and that Magpale was in charge.
Last night’s rally organized by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) sealed off portions of main roads of Osmena Boulevard and Escario Street from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
A moratorium on new flyovers in Cebu City was imposed in September 2011 after strong opposition was raised by Mayor Michael Rama, backed by traffic managers, urban planners and heritage and environment advocates who said two-lane flyovers were costly “band-aids” that don’t address traffic congestion, which require a comprehensive transport master plan for the city.
But flyovers are a priority for Osmeña and LP Cebu city congressional candidate Raul del Mar, who appear confident that the moratorium of the Dept. of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will be lifted if they are elected.
Around 65,000 people gathered around the Capitol grounds at the rally’s peak yesterday, said Senior Supt. Mariano Natu-el Jr., Cebu City police chief.
During the rally, the President said it was the government’s job to find solutions to traffic.
“May flyover ba tayo ngayon? Malamang ako ang sinisisi. Wala namang nabibigay na solusyon ang iba. Kayo na ang bahalang mag husga kung dapat ba nating pansinin ang mamang iyon.
“Sa palagay ko kung hindi natin susolusyunan ang problema, tuloy tuloy at lalaki ang problema.”
(Do you see any construction of flyovers here, I guess I am to be blamed for this. They have not given me proposals to solve traffic. It’s up to you to decide if we should pay attention to critics. If we don’t act now, the problem will persist and even worsen.”
Earlier in the day, Aquino inaugurated the 26-km Mactan Island circumferential road worth P300 million (See story on page 2) and said the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) pet project of Osmeña, which the President earlier sidelined, needs further study.
In his Capitol speech, President Aquino thanked Cebuanos for supporting his administration’s drive against corruption.
He said the Mactan road was cheaper than the P365 million spent on overpriced decorative lampposts used for the 2007 Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) summit under investigation by the Sandiganbayan.
“Kung tama ang pamamahala, uunahin nating ang kalsada (If the government is run well, roads will be prioritized),” Aquino added. The President left the rally shortly after 7 p.m./Chief of Reporters Doris Bongcac and Senior Reporter Marian Codilla
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