Don Vicente Rama and the Cebu City charter
Yesterday, Cebu City celebrated its 77th Charter Day. The person responsible for making the Municipio de Cebu a city was my grandfather Don Vicente Rama. He was a member of the House of Representatives when he authored the bill converting the municipality of Cebu to Cebu City and it was a lonely journey because at that time some local personalities opposed the bill for very myopic reasons.
But my father persevered because he could not believe that Cebu, the first area were the Spanish colonizers established their settlement was left behind by unknown towns which became cities ahead of Cebu.
Lolo Inting as we fondly called him fought in the halls of Congress, defending his bill against Cebuano politicians and their allies who were against the bill.
He succeeded in convincing his colleagues in the House of Representatives of the necessity, beneficiality and practicability of the bill. Don Vicente foresaw that creating the City of Cebu will bring it to a new phase of development as it also strengthened the local autonomy of Cebu City.
Little do many Cebuanos know that Don Vicente also authored a bill that requires students to read and learn lessons from the books of Jose Rizal—”Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” but this was not passed because the Spanish influence was still strong when he filed it.
My grandfather loved the Cebuano language so much that he established a newspaper called Bag-ong Kusog and wrote many Cebuano novels and short stories.
Lolo Vicente was a workaholic person so much so that even when he was sick he would always asked his children to bring periodicals and read at his beside.
But if there is one thing that my grandfather left as a legacy to us, it was the value of honesty and good governance once elected to public office.
Don Vicente Rama, father of the Cebu City charter was also a good father and provider to his family even as he served them well. Because of this, the people of the City of Cebu has entrusted the city to another Rama in
Mayor Michael Rama—a grandson of the late Don Vicente Rama.
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Today the entire nation celebrates the 28th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution that ousted the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
I could vividly recall that in Cebu the people were massing at Camp Sergio Osmeña because the Integrated National Police (INP) withdrew their support for Marcos.
We supported the INP against possible attacks from the Central Command that has remained a supporter of the administration.
I remembered that I also delivered a speech on top of the guardhouse of the police camp that we temporarily used as a stage.
Before the news spread that Marcos had left the country the young actress Manilyn Reynes sang a song. After that someone below the stage announced that Marcos fled. With that announcement, people in the area were ecstatic. Some started screaming and dancing while others and I rode a vehicle and went around the city announcing that Marcos already left.
We were so happy and felt delivered from the abuses of the Marcos administration. Many Filipinos that time were optimistic that hope and change would reign in our country that was devastated and looted by Marcos.
I remember the saying that in 1965 before Marcos became president that Philippines was second only to Japan but when Marcos finally left the same country was now second to the last before Bangladesh—the poorest nation in Asia.
But unfortunately, the country failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Today, we still suffer the ills present during the Marcos era. As a matter of fact, corruption has worsened as shown in the pork barrel scam.
Still, nobody can argue that we were able to bring back our lost rights and freedoms in our struggle in Edsa.
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