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Mar was being careful

/ 08:50 AM December 15, 2013

The latest controversy that has gone viral is the confrontation between Secretary Mar Roxas and Tacloban City Mayor Fred Romualdez. I used to work for Mar Roxas as one of his campaign staff and found him a gentleman, very deliberate and careful especially in handling sensitive matters.

Roxas is a very honest person and is against any graft and corruption. But the video which Mar Roxas said was spliced to put him and the Aquino administration in a bad light. He insisted that the entire video be shown. He released a transcript of the meeting in Tacloban which took place shortly after typhoon Yolanda struck on Nov. 9.

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What I think soured the entire conversation was Roxas’s sharp reminder that the mayor was a Romualdez and the president is an Aquino.

In a way that sounded like Roxas was politicking in the midst of a calamity which is out of place. I believe Roxas was just being careful because he didn’t want to put political color in the national government’s role in Tacloban City after the storm.

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Mar Roxas allegedly requested that a letter be written to the president to legalize the whole matter but some are saying that it was no time for red tape to get in the way of an emergency response.

It would be best for both parties to talk things over, put the issue to rest and concentrate on rebuilding areas devastated by Yolanda. Secretary Dinky Soliman is correct in pointing out that the controversy is not helping anyone especially those who are suffering major loss from typhoon Yolanda.

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In a single week, four fires struck Metro Cebu. Two in Cebu City ate up houses in barangays Carreta and Tejero then in Quiot and Kinasang. Then last Friday, fire razed a neighborhood in sitio Lemonsito in barangay Umapad in Mandaue City.

People should be very vigilant especially with Christmas fast approaching. Families should use good-quality Christmas lights, not cheap goods from China that are substandard in quality.

Be careful also about rotational brownouts which prompt households to use candles and kerosene lamps. In the Mandaue fire, a knocked over lamp was identified as one of the suspected causes of the fire.

What’s common in the four areas was the presence of informal settlers who illegally tap electricity from neighbors, another practice that has been identified as a fire hazard.

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It’s funny how in one of the Cebu city fires, the blame was placed on children playing with matches. Why so? Where were their parents?

People should also be concerned about the proper handling of firecrackers. We should all be extra careful to prevent accidents during the holiday season.

The fires have taught us hard lessons about managing crowded neighborhoods. Roads leading to interior portions should not be further constricted by building tenements along them narrowing access to the point where fire trucks find it difficult to reach the stricken area.

The Cebu city government is reblocking some of the areas to widen roads to help residents and fire trucks gain easier access during an emergency.

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I welcome the latest report that the new Cebu City Medical Center will be built in the South Road Properties (SRP), particularly behind the San Pedro Calungsod shrine. This would make the area more alive. It’s a better choice than the site initially selected, though Architect Yumi Espina raised concern about peace and order there. I think that when an activity is held there, this concern can be addressed by the police and city government.

The latest proposed site is accessible to the public. I am hoping that the BOPK-dominated council would not make it hard for this noble project to push through. I still expect them to place all kinds of obstacles to delay it just because any project of the mayor is not good for them.

What is important is the people and how to best serve the interest, welfare and health of the people of the City of Cebu.

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