Osmeña, Labella face off in IBP Cebu City debate
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The long-awaited face-off of Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella ended with a satisfied audience on the afternoon of Friday, May 10, at the Cebu City City Sports Club.
Osmeña and Labella battled on pressing issues in Cebu including calamities and risk reduction, tourism, transportation, business and investments, health, social services, education, and safety and security.
Among the heavily argued topics included how to increase and maximize the revenues and investments of the Cebu City especially at the South Road Properties (SRP).
Labella said that if the mayor had not declared illegal the sale of a 45-hectare lot to Ayala Land Inc., SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Filinvest Land Inc., Cebu City would already have a dome, an arena, an Ocean Park, and 10,000 jobs to offer to the residents plus revenues from realty taxes and permits.
“Every development of SRP has an accessory effect of people engaging in business in the SRP to pay real property taxes and business taxes. It (Ayala-SM Consortium) is just unfortunate that they could not start their development because their development plan is gathering dust in the office of the executive,” said Labella.
Osmeña rebut this statement as he said that Cebu City had to learn from the mistakes of the Cebu Province who sold its 70-hectare land to developers and ended up poorer after seven years.
Read more: Tomas: Kawit Island project a go
He said the agreement the city entered with Gokongwei-led Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) where they would develop freely an P18 billion project in the Kawit Island property in exchange of giving 10 percent of their revenues to the Cebu City government in the next 50 years.
Osmeña said this would benefit the city after 50 years when the city could claim ownership of the land and the infrastructure built by UHRI all the while earning from the profit of the developer as well.
“We want sustainable development so as much as possible, I went to a long term lease where we will have a graduated income through the years, but when we are all gone, at least our due will remain alive,” said Osmeña.
Safety and security was among the issues that received a strong response from the candidates although both Osmeña and Labella said that Cebu City is not a Crime City.
Osmeña echoed his recent statements against the police whom he claims was under the wrong kind of leadership.
He said that people had lost trust of the police and this had become a problem because there was an important gap in their ability to enforce the law.
“Under our previous police chief, Colonel Doria, we have a very efficient police force. Now we have the question of the wrong chief and the wrong general who are doing the harm instead of the protection we deserve,” said Osmeña.
However, Labella begged to differ as he believed that the city had been safe and orderly for the law-abiding citizens in the city as the police had been present as ever in the streets and at night.
He said that people had nothing to be afraid of if they would only abide by the rule of law.
Yet not on all issues did the candidates differ since both Osmeña and Labella agreed on certain issues including their approval on same sex union or marriage, death penalty, and asking religious institutions to pay taxes.
For same sex unions, Labella said that he was for the civil union of adults who “love each other” while Osmeña said that although the Philippines is predominantly Christian, Filipinos must not step on the rights of the LGBT to marriage.
Labella readily agreed to the reimposition of death penalty as retributive justice, but Osmeña said that the government must assure an equal and fair justice system before implementing the death penalty.
As for religious institutions, Osmeña and Labella said that the businesses of these religious institutions must be taxed as they were earning revenue.
In the debate, Labella urged the Cebuanos to vote for him on Monday as he promised to have a consolatory kind of governance and said that he would ask the help of those who would want the best for the city to ensure that the next three years would be prosperous for the Cebuanos.
As for Osmeña, he assured that he would continue his brand of service that brought Cebu City the various developments especially the SRP and its investments that he said would benefit the children of Cebu even after the present generation would be gone./dbs
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.