Politics hampering Devotee City plan?

Posted on November 8, 2012


Efforts continue to try to put up a Devotee City for low-income pilgrims coming for the Nov. 30 National Thanksgiving Mass for San Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City.

With barely three weeks to go, pledges to loan 40 empty container vans as shelters were given by shipping firms but 100 vans are needed.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who earlier said he never promised to set up a Devotee City like the one for the Sinulog, said he will meet with Councilors Roberto Cabarrubias and other councilors soon to decide on this.

“It ain’t over until it’s over,” he said.

Rama said he anticipated disapproval of the Cebu City Council of budget requests for the project which requires electric power, water, sanitation and security for the area aside from hauling services of P700 per van to the Compania Maritima grounds.

“We are not prepared for funding because the council has been stopping us,” he said.

If the project materializes, said the mayor, he will have to rely on the private sector.

“We have a hard time looking for container vans because it is peak season for cargoes,” said Cabarrubias, who continues to negotiate with cargo forwarders and shipping lines after 2GO shipping declined to loan their vans. He said 100 vans are needed to shelter a target 5,000 pilgrims.

A budget of P500,000 is being eyed or half the P1 million cost of a Devotee City for the Sinulog.

Mayor Rama said he doesn’t favor using public school classrooms for transients because it’s hard to guarantee the property will be free from damage or loss.

He said schools can be used for transients in athletic events and the Sinulog Devotee City because there are supervisors with the contingents to take charge of the premises.

Fr. Jake Reyes, chairperson of the committee on local pilgrims for the Cebu Archdiocese, said they are suggesting the use of public schools near the South Road Properties (SRP) to house walk-in pilgrims who can’t afford to stay in hotels and pension houses.

He said some hotel and pension house owners are also willing to give special discounts for the occasion.

“We could not give them (pilgrims) accommodations but we can provide them with seats at the venue of the thanksgiving celebration, he said in yesterday’s press conference. /Edison A. delos Angeles, Correspondent with Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol


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