Cebu City

Cebu City mayor plans ramped up road-clearing days following Odette

John Sitchon
Cebu City mayor plans ramped up road-clearing days following Odette

DESTROYED. Photo of Typhoon Odette-battered areas in Tisa, Cebu City which President Rodrigo Duterte visited on December 23, 2021.

Malacau00f1ang Photo

Non-essential vehicles will not be allowed on the road these days, says Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. The annual Sinulog festival will also push through.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Vehicle owners whose cars and motorcycles obstruct road-clearing operations will soon be apprehended, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama announced in a press conference on Monday, December 27.

“I will make a directive [nga] kinahanglan naa’y clear way. Walay sakyanan aron ang among buhaton manglimpyo ra gyud (there has to be a clear way. No vehicles so that we can just clean),” he said.

Ever since the aftermath of Typhoon Odette, Cebu City has had an increase in road traffic due to residents rushing to stores in search of essentials like drinkable water, fuel, and food. According to Rama, traffic slowed down the city’s debris-clearing operations, and in turn, delays the restoration of power in the city. 

Mao na ang problema namo—ang traffic (That’s our problem—the traffic),” Rama said.

Rama added that in this new directive, there will be one to two days designated for road clearing operations. On these days, owners of “non-essential vehicles or vehicles not included in the road clearing will be apprehended.”

“Possible this December 30 or January 2 [of next year],” he said.

After days of lines at gas station snaking around the block when the typhoon first hit on December 16, wait times are starting to get shorter.

Rama reassured the public that road clearing operations and the collection of garbage are still ongoing.

Some residents have complained on social media that certain streets in the city are still filled with branches and debris that have yet to be collected.

To this, Rama said, “ang inyong tan-awon ayaw tong wa nakuha. Tan-awa ninyo kung unsa na ang nakuha (Don’t look at what hasn’t been cleaned. Look at what’s already been taken).”

Just in time for Sinulog

Meanwhile, Rama affirmed that Cebu City will still push through with the annual celebration of the Sinulog festival in January next year despite the power outage and threat of COVID-19 Omicron variant. 

“It’s just a matter of what is going to happen. Should it be virtual? Should it be [physical]? We will have to meet on this before the end of this month,” he said.

Earlier in January 2021, the city government and the Sinulog Foundation decided to postpone the virtual ritual showdown, the highlight of the Sinulog Festival, after the cancellation of physical events amid the post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases.

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On December 7, Rama said that the city was considering a mix of virtual and physical activities for the upcoming celebration. 

For now, Rama believes that the city will be able to recover just in time for the annual celebration. –