WHAT WAS that again about all that fuss that flushes up waste? Well, the go-getters for Cebu do appear like they know no better, headlong into their goal with horse's blinders on, about the Asean Summit this December. Here goes my rub again in my latest column in the opinion page of Sun.Star Cebu:
In the heat of the haste
If it would make them look better, they could try jumping down the river.
Surge and swell up. Or so the pressure goes for the metro’s movers and shakers, flexing themselves for the forthcoming Asean Summit and hoping their heads would be above the flow.
Even the Niagara would fall short of the ferocity with which our leaders have poured out their resources just so that our foreign guests would be swept off their feet. A multi-million structure suddenly looms into view, and roads suddenly get spruced up with yellows enough to cause jaundice while shanties along the visitors’ way get coated over with cool green until the tourists’ eyes turn mint.
Hey, aren’t we so up to the challenge of making ourselves look cozy with urban development? But couldn’t we have done this entire proclivity for preening a long time ago and save ourselves of the nail-biting groan and grind of making things happen, spic and span, in the nick of deadline?
Ah, this adrenaline rush to level up to expectation. This would have served us in good stead if this were harnessed for honest-to-goodness urban planning for the Cebuanos’ benefit to begin with, and not merely because we have foreign guests to please.
Then again, with our “fiesta” mentality, hardly do we mind if we drown ourselves with debts as long we’re riding the waves of goodwill from our visitors until they puke their guts out of the glut of our preparations for their satisfaction.
Foresight, however, is a factor marked with X here this island now stooping its stressed-out head down its soles so it can prove what our foreign guests are coming into is no backwater. Yes, even if garbage clogs up the corpses of our rivers that abruptly rise with the downpour until they gorge up and gobble away youngsters along the rapids.
What happens when the Summit is over and done with? Would we still be as obsessed about making our metropolis look first-rate? Could we sustain this overdrive to appear decent even if only our homegrown eyes would be left staring? Would law enforcement still keep up with its level of hunger to pounce on and make mincemeat of felons who are ever so galling with their cold-blooded appetite whether or not guests are coming to dinner?
Hopefully, this burst of momentum to make sense of our urban muddle won’t be momentary. Flirting with progress is fine, true. It’s another story, however, to rouse ourselves with a band and tidy up for transients, to wink at them so we can make the most of our time together in the heat of a one-night stand.
If that’s sorely the case, wouldn’t we be better off jumping down the rampaging river? (7 November 2006, Sun.Star Cebu)