Briones: The sudden closure of the Cebu City Sports Center

It hasn’t even been a month since it unceremoniously shut down the temporary v-hire terminal along Junquera St. in Barangay Kamagayan, and now the Cebu City Government is at it again.

On April 28, 2023, Cebu City Transportation Office personnel, led by Raquel Arce, went to the terminal in the afternoon and told van-for-hire operators and drivers they had less than an hour to vacate the premises.

The close to 2,000 southbound passengers who were excited to go home for the long weekend had no choice but to go somewhere else to get a ride.

The City was in the right. There was no question about the legality of the closure. In fact, it had already told the former occupiers that their days were numbered.

Therefore, the v-hire operators and drivers could not claim ignorance. Nor could Barangay Kamagayan officials. I don’t know about the vendors in the terminal or the passengers.

But that was never the issue. It was the timing and the lack of an advisory that had everybody shaking their heads in disbelief at the utter disregard for public sentiments.

As I said in a previous column, majority of the commuters who used the terminal were most likely non-city voters so city officials could hardly care. But that might not be the case for users of the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

You see, on Thursday, May 18, the City Government decided to shut down the entire facility for repairs.

Just like that. With no warning.

I was getting ready to go to the oval for my daily jog with friends when I received the news in the afternoon.

I heard talks about rehabilitating the facility and I support it. The CCSC is badly in need of repair.

But to drop the bombshell like that, like what happened at the v-hire terminal. There was no advisory.

Like the City couldn’t care less about the feelings of the hundreds of people who go there to exercise daily.

So this is how Cebu City treats its citizens. With no ounce of respect.

According to some oval users, the CCSC was still open in the morning. Then Mayor Michael Rama reportedly had a meeting with stakeholders after lunch during which he decided the facility should be closed to the public for repairs.

I don’t think he meant immediately. Whoever is in charge of the CCSC must have misunderstood the mayor.

First of all, does the City have a budget for it? Or has Rama found another Manila-based tycoon to pick up the tab? Shouldn’t there be a public bidding? And how can repairs start when the City doesn’t even have a contractor to implement the project?

It will take weeks before the whole thing can get off the ground. In the meantime, the City Government will be deprived of a daily income from the use of the CCSC.

Adults who want to use the oval have to pay a P25 entrance fee, while students and seniors pay P20. It’s more if they want to go swimming or play badminton. And let’s not forget the parking fee.

So I guess the City is willing to do without the extra money while it decides what to do next.

Just do the math.

I feel really strongly about this issue because the oval has been my second home since I decided to get healthy and lose 100 pounds almost 12 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I and the hundreds if not thousands who are affected by this sudden closure support the City’s plan to upgrade the facility. Who doesn’t want a world-class sports facility in Cebu City?

Then again, that was never the issue.