Editorial: Informed optimism

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

HOW far do you travel each day? How do you get there and how much does the trip cost you, both in time and cash? What services do you need to make the journey better?

Questions like these will be asked of some 6,527 households scattered across Metro Cebu until the middle of March 2014 by a research team. The researchers, commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB), are expected to gather data that will then be used to inform plans to make Cebu more livable, more competitive and better managed by 2050.

They presented in a press conference yesterday the objectives and work plan for the survey.


Most of us may never know what Cebu will be like in 2050. But the questions the researchers want explored, and the plans and projects the answers will help shape, matter if we want our children and grandchildren to live and work in circumstances far better than what we have now.

During the survey, the 48 field researchers or enumerators will also give away a four-page leaflet explaining the Mega Cebu Vision 2050. One hopes this will create inclusion, in the sense that households will have some say on what projects need to be prioritized. Another benefit could be a measure of informed optimism, once respondents appreciate that the planning for Cebu’s future isn’t being left to politicians alone.

But a big challenge waits. Can survey respondents and the public at large suspend our doubts about (or, in some cases, distrust of) some public officials long enough to contribute to the slow, painstaking work of change?

One researcher recalled how, in the first three days of their field work, she met a woman who spoke about having to walk two hours just to reach the health center closest to her home.

Indeed, we hope this important survey will help us understand more clearly the situations our communities face. We hope it will do more than reveal “trip behaviors,” although that, too, is important. We really hope the exercise will inspire reflections on how we want Cebu to be, 36 years from now, and what we can all do to make that happen.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 12, 2014.


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