Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Philippines Summed up in Two Articles

I will probably have a lot of posts on the insanity of Philippine politics and Philippine public policy (and the Philippines in general), and this seems like a good starting point.

Tommy Osmena, who is currently a congressman and was formerly (twice) mayor of Cebu City, wants to build a Formula One racetrack in Cordova (a suburb) according to an article today:

Rep. Tomas OsmeƱa wants to put up a Formula 1 (F1) circuit, hotels and condominiums in Cordova, Cebu.

He admits he has not talked to municipal officials about this but he said he had shared the idea with some investors.

Don't get me wrong -- I like people who think big. One of my all-time favorite quotes is by Daniel Burnham, who is largely responsible for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the first skyscrapers (and who also planned Baguio, here in the Philippines):

Make no small plans, they have no power to move men's hearts.

As an aside, something I regret in America today is that we seem to have lost the ability to think big. Can you imagine the reaction if someone today proposed something like the Interstate Highway system or the TVA? On the left, the environmentalists would go nuts, and they'd be matched scream for scream by fiscal conservatives (like me). 

But such plans must be rooted in reality, as Burnham's (and the TVA and the Interstates) were. Is there any reason at all to believe that F1 is interested in having a race in the Philippines? If we're going in for wild ideas, let's build an NFL stadium next to the race course -- the Raiders are thinking about moving again.

But this gets even better, if you read further down in the article. After saying that he's all for the idea (but that it should be paid for by someone else, of course), the Mayor of Cordova goes on:

“If there is a tunnel or a bridge from Cebu City to Cordvoa, it can be connected by a skyway to a proposed new airport along Pilipog River,” he said.

So now we're dreaming not just of a racetrack, we've also dreamed up a bridge (or tunnel), and a 'skyway', and a new airport. But wait!, as they say in the late-night TV ads, there's more!:
If the tunnel is built, this will solve the lingering traffic problem between the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue. It will also complement the future bridge between Cordova and Jetafe, Bohol, Sitoy said.
With the Jetafe-Cordova Bridge and the Cordova-Cebu City Tunnel, Cebu can buy fresh water from Bohol by installing a water pipeline beside the Inabanga River.

We're also going to build a bridge from Cordova to Bohol (the Bohol Strait is about twenty miles wide) and throw in a pipeline while we're at it.

And now for the reality of the Philippines. Perhaps it would be better to start with replacing busted traffic lights. Here's another article about Talisay (another suburb) that also ran today:

Talisay City Hall has yet to secure funding to replace the busted traffic lights in their area ...
Vice Mayor Alan Bucao ... said only two of the five traffic lights in the SRP road from their area heading to Cebu City are functional. [...]

Bucao said he already requested Mayor Socrates Fernandez for additional traffic enforcers to make up for the busted traffic lights.

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