Labella to use Senior Citizen Affairs Office as temporary Mayor’s Office
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City’s new Mayor Edgardo Labella will be staying in a smaller office while the city finds the funds to renovate the Mayor’s Office, which was stripped bare by former Mayor Tomas Osmeña on Friday dawn, June 28.
Labella said in a press conference following his inauguration on Sunday, June 30, that he would remain in his old office at the Vice Mayor’s Office in the Legislative Building for one week while they would arrange his transfer to the Executive Building.
“I am grateful to Vice Mayor (Michael) Rama for allowing me to stay one more week in the Vice Mayor’s Office as we all know what happened to the Mayor’s Office. Of course, the vice mayor will need to occupy this office as soon as possible, so I will be occupying the Senior Citizen’s Affairs Office,” said Labella.
Labella’s temporary office is a small office in the ground floor of the Executive Building, and the mayor said this would make him feel more connected to the public.
He said the rest of the mayor’s administration staff would occupy other vacant offices in the other floors of the Executive Building of the City Hall as the Mayor’s Office would undergo renovation.
Labella said the lack of a proper Mayor’s Office would make it difficult for him to entertain dignitaries and high level officials, and so he would be asking the City Council for a budget to fix the Mayor’s Office.
“Of course we need to go through the proper process because I do not have P2 million in my pockets to fix the Mayor’s Office. I do not have that kind of money,” said Labella.
Osmeña in previous statements said that when he sought for a budget to renovate the Mayor’s Office in 2016, he was denied by the City Council, which was then dominated by Partido Barug, and so he had to shell out P2 million from his own pocket to renovate the office.
Labella said he already discussed with the City Legal on the charges the city might file against the former mayor for destroying a “government property.”
The new mayor said that even if Osmeña spent millions on the office, he could only take back movable objects and could not take down walls or toilets, which were immovable by nature.
The City Legal will be studying the case for the charges against Osmeña.
Labella said he would not be asking help from the private sector to renovate the Mayor’s Office because he said that “nothing comes for free” and private businesses might take advantage of this opportunity to ask for favors from the city.
Similarly, Labella will also be wary of donors, who would like to help build the Mayor’s Office as it would not coincide with the City’s ethical standard of public service, the ordinance of which he authored in his years as a councilor.
Labella said that he would simply wait for the decision of the City Council on the budget for the Mayor’s Office, and this would not stop him from doing his duty as a mayor./dbs
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