Da­vide’s choice

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

De­spite main­tain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing “clean”—i.e, no whiff of ir­reg­u­lar­ity or anom­alies to his per­son though his crit­ics have pointed to his tol­er­ance and fail­ure to sanc­tion those of­fi­cials around him who were ac­cused of ques­tion­able deal­ings — Cebu Gov. Hi­lario Da­vide III is not known for be­ing a vi­sion­ary.

This per­haps can be seen in his in­sis­tence to keep the P1.5 bil­lion 20-storey build­ing within the Capi­tol com­pound amid con­cerns from the Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion of the Philip­pines (NHCP) that the pro­posed struc­ture will tower over the Capi­tol build­ing which is con­sid­ered a his­tor­i­cal land­mark.

The gov­er­nor as­sured that ad­just­ments will be made to avoid this sit­u­a­tion and he po­litely but firmly re­jected a pro­posal from her­itage ad­vo­cate Jobers Ber­sales (a CEBU DAILY NEWS colum­nist) to re­lo­cate the build­ing out­side Metro Cebu.

Ber­sales also sug­gested that the Capi­tol build­ing be trans­formed into a cen­ter for tourism and culture, some­thing the gov­er­nor de­cided wasn’t as im­por­tant as a build­ing that will pro­vide ser­vices to the prov­ince’s con­stituents who are mostly lo­cated out­side Metro Cebu.

To be sure, un­less there is sub­stan­tial ev­i­dence of ir­reg­u­lar­ity or non­com­pli­ance with ex­ist­ing laws and guide­lines, there is very lit­tle ar­gu­ment if at all for build­ing a pro­vin­cial one-stop shop ser­vices of­fice.

We don’t know if the gov­er­nor re­al­ized this or chose to ig­nore it, but it was former Cebu Gov­er­nor Lito Os­meña that lob­bied for mov­ing the Capi­tol out­side of Metro Cebu as Ber­sales pointed out in his March 7, 2018 col­umn.

Aside from the prac­ti­cal rea­son of help­ing to de­con­gest traf­fic in Cebu City by spar­ing the bulk of the Capi­tol’s con­stituents the expense and in­con­ve­nience of trav­el­ing to the Queen City of the South, re­lo­cat­ing the pro­posed Pro­vin­cial Ser­vices build­ing or the Capi­tol or both will fully re­al­ize the prov­ince’s man­date and re­spon­si­bil­ity of reach­ing out and bring­ing it­self closer to the peo­ple of Cebu.

Then again, former Gov­er­nor Os­meña had pub­licly ex­pressed his dis­ap­proval of Da­vide whom he crit­i­cized for lack­ing fore­sight. Whether or not this dis­ap­proval had in any way in­flu­enced Gov­er­nor Da­vide to in­sist on keep­ing the P1.5 bil­lion build­ing in the Capi­tol com­pound one can only spec­u­late.

The only def­i­nite as­sur­ance the in­cum­bent gov­er­nor can give is that his ad­min­is­tra­tion will com­ply with the NHCP’s re­quest to mod­ify the build­ing’s de­sign.

As to the wis­dom of keep­ing the build­ing within the Capi­tol com­pound is con­cerned, maybe it’s up to the prov­ince’s con­stituents to de­ter­mine whether or not it is the right choice come next year’s elec­tions.

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