Cebu City Council to hold offsite sessions in barangays

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio September 07,2019 - 02:52 PM

The Cebu City Council passed during their session on September 3 an ordinance by Councilor Alvin Dizon that authorizes the conduct of offsite sessions in barangays. | Delta Dyrecka Letigio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Council members will no longer be limited to conducting their regular and special sessions inside the City Hall legislative building.

An ordinance authored by Councilor Alvin Dizon and which the 15th Sanguniang Panlungsod passed during their September 3 session, authorizes the conduct of offsite sessions to bring the city government closer to the barangays.

“I am advocating for the passage of the ordinance because the conduct of offsite sessions serves an important democratic function by providing citizens—our constituents and the very source of our mandate—the opportunity for active and good citizenship since it encourages, promotes and advances participatory democracy at the local level,” said Dizon.

For Dizon, the conduct of offsite sessions will allow the council to be closer to their constituents.  This will make every council member better grounded on the issues affecting the city’s 80 barangays.

Vice Mayor Rama, the council’s presiding officer, was planning to have their first offsite session in Barangay Kalunasan that was earlier placed under a state of calamity as a result of the foul smell coming the septic tanks of the jail facilities in the area.

But Rama said he wanted to wait until such time that mitigating measures that were agreed upon during a meeting, which he earlier called with affected residents and officials of the city and provincial jail facilities there, are implemented.

Rama said he wanted to also see for himself if the situation in the area have already improved with the implementation of said mitigating measures.

Members of the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod, where Dizon was also a part of, introduced the conduct of offsite sessions especially in the city’s mountain barangays of Bonbon and Guba.  An offsite session was also held in Barangay Luz in the northern part of the city.

But it was only under the 15th Sanguniang Panlungsod that legislators passed an ordinance that will institutionalize the conduct of offsite sessions.

Dizon said that the offsite sessions that they had from 2010 to 2013 were “well-received” by the barangays.

To give barangays residents more than enough time to dialog with their city officials, offsite sessions that the council will start this year will include a “People’s Hour.”  This give residents a chance to bring up certain concerns with concerned city officials.

The agenda for the People’s Hour will be determined by the council ahead of the offsite session’s schedule for city officials to accommodate a thematic concern.

Dizon said that the Cebu City’s Public Information Office (PIO) is also tasked to provide a live broadcast of their offsite sessions using their official Facebook page.

The PIO will also be gathering comments and feedbacks from online viewers.  Councilors will be using these feedbacks as a consideration in the crafting of future resolutions and ordinances, he added. | dcb


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TAGS: 80 barangays, Alvin Dizon, Cebu City Council, Michael Rama, offsite session, ordinance, People's Hour

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