The dire state of politics in this country has bred a generation of cynics, and we admit that sometimes we are among them.
Yet every election we still take to the polls, hoping that maybe this one will make a difference. With the upcoming elections in mind, we decided to give pessimism a rest and optimism a try, so we chatted with a group of Cebuanos (some are born and bred, while others have adopted Cebu as their home) and asked them what changes they would like to see in Cebu.
They come from varied fields and industries—from business and medicine to tourism and the arts—and this is what they had to say.
Sam Briones Lagaac, 28, writer
I hope that there would be a way to end all of the political dynasties that are currently prevailing, not only in our city but also within the entire country. It’s a little ridiculous to think that candidates really “want to serve” when they, their mothers, nephews and four cousins are all vying for various political positions within a jurisdiction.
I also want to see the beginnings of solutions to the city’s problems that everyone seems to complain about. Let’s do something about the growing traffic problem—develop some transportation infrastructure, perhaps the beginnings of a tram/train system, bike lanes maybe.
I want to see more greenery all throughout the city, and let’s finally solve the dengue problem that seems to haunt us year after year. When we have little things like these in place, it may surprise everyone how much more pleasant Cebu City turns out to be.
Karen Militante, 30, lawyer
With the rapid growth of the city in terms of population and economy, we need to be more organized and orderly. Top of mind is the need for a more efficient and effective traffic-management system to support the growing number of commuters daily. We need walkable roads, a better mass transit system and a more disciplined commuting public.
The peace and order situation also needs to be looked into so we can all walk around the city freely and safely. Aside from order in the streets, it would be ideal to have a more organized community through a more active involvement and participation from the Cebuanos. We all need to be in this together in order to make Cebu an even better place to live in.
Cattski Espina, 36, musician
I wish for governing bodies to rethink the current local arts and make a conscious effort to create a support system or a program that will provide opportunities for our thriving community of creators in the realms of music, visual arts and film.
Fernanda Lopez, 33, food and beverage manager, Cebu City Marriott Hotel
It would be great to enhance communication between the government and the private sector so they can work together and align their tourism policies to improve the services we offer to travelers coming to Cebu. By combining our efforts, we can better promote Cebu and bring in more business and tourism here.
On this note, I would like to see better infrastructure for tourists who are visiting this beautiful place to allow them to make the most of their visit. Some things on my wish list are better developed roads going to Mactan, improved signage leading to the city’s main attractions, more cultural and historical information on the city’s landmarks, a safer atmosphere to encourage the visitors to walk through the tourist sights, and strong environmental standards to keep the awesome natural resources of this place.
Benjamin Worthington, 31, director of professional services, Survey Sampling International
I would personally like to see major improvements in how traffic enforcement is regulated (especially for those that make a living out of driving) as well as more consistent maintenance and preventive road maintenance that is tied to public safety rather than a political agenda.
Organized chaos is the best description of current traffic and road conditions in Cebu. Regardless of how safely I try to drive, I find myself in a demolition derby mind-set.
Being forced to weave in and out of traffic to avoid accidents with taxis that treat roads like a parking lot, screeching tires to avoid rear ending a PUJ (that has decided to stop in the middle of the road—with no brake lights), having a trike decide that a two-lane road really should be a three-lane road in order to accommodate their speedy pace, getting sideswiped by a motorcycle that seems to be in a hurry to cause their next accident—all of which seem to go unnoticed by traffic enforcement standing nearby.
Add to this the roads that are littered with potholes and other random booby traps, unmarked lanes, nonfunctioning traffic lights and signage that seems to serve better as suggestions rather than rules. All of this turns a simple drive to the city into a hazard-ridden obstacle course that we have been conditioned to accept.
Jorge Mario Oñate Jr., 37, doctor
I wish for Cebu to have a strong leadership that upholds the finest principles of democracy. I envision a city that brings progress and the development of international ties. I dream of good governance that benefits its people—the poor, the sick, the needy and every one of its citizens. I would like to see a Cebu where politicians serve their populace as they are meant to do.
Leanne Florendo, 38, managing director, Havaianas Central and Eastern Visayas and The Yellow Hat Store
Cebu is one of the country’s key cities and for it to remain as such, it requires good and strong leaders who will put the city’s interest before anyone else’s. I dream of proper urban planning: well-lit roads and sidewalks, an improved drainage system, proper traffic management.
I look forward to quicker response to emergencies. I hope for a time when starting and running businesses in our city is easy and completely corruption-free. I dare to dream much for a city that can be much!