Partido Barug takes control of Cebu City Council
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The tables have turned.
Partido Barug-PDP Laban took the chairmanship of 20 of the 22 committees of the Cebu City Council in this afternoon’s inaugural session.
Only two Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) allies – SKF President Jessica Resch and ABC President Franklyn Ong – held chairmanship of the Committees on Youth and Development and Barangay Affairs respectively.
The 20 other committees were divided among the 10 Partido Barug allied councilors and Vice Mayor Michael Rama, the council’s presiding officer, who was named chairman of the committees on health, tourism, sister cities, and environment.
Lawyer Raymond Alvin Garcia, the council’s majority floor leader, said they offered committee chairmanships to the minority bloc but they refused.
“They said it was a party decision (to refuse any committee chairmanships), but we did offer them membership,” Garcia told reporters in an interview after the inaugural session.
With Partido Barug’s dominance in the City Council, Garcia expressed confidence that the 15th Sanguniang Panlungsod will be able to operate “faster and smooth sailing.”
Minority Floor Leader Nestor Archival said in a separate interview that he was not privy to Partido Barug’s offer of committee chairmanships to BOPK-allied councilors because he was not around during their group’s last meeting.
“We all know that in the council, the majority will always have the control. We, as the minority, can still help the city through our legislation,” he said.
While they lack the numbers, Archival said that BOPK councilors will serve as fiscalizers to especially ensure check and balance in the City Council.
Archival said that the minority bloc was also prepared to ensure the attainment of the goals of Mayor Edgardo Labella that includes flooding, traffic, garbage, education, repayment of the South Road Properties loan, completion of the Cebu City Medical Center and the Carbon Market Phase 2, and establishment of a Cebu City College.
The pledge of support that Councilors Jerry Guardo and Dave Tumulak gave to Labella’s administration also gave his Partido Barug – PDP Laban the majority in the Cebu City Council.
Guardo, who used to be with BOPK, has already expressed interest to join Partido Barug but Tumulak said that he wanted to remain an independent member of the city council while he supports the administration bloc.
With their addition, Partido Barug now has a total of 10 allies in the City Council as against to the eight councilors allied with the opposition group.
The Cebu City Council has a total of 18 members, of which 16 councilors were elected to represent the city’s north and south districts while the two others – the SKF and ABC presidents – are ex-officio members of the legislative body. /dcb
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