A simple celebration on Independence Day as Cebu City Vice Mayor Rama reiterates autonomy of LGUs

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | June 12,2020 - 12:11 PM

A simple flag raising ceremony was held at the Cebu City Hall to commemorate the 122nd Philippine Independence Day on June 12, 2020. CDN Digital photo | Gerard Vincent Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The commemoration of the 122nd Independence Day in Cebu City was a no-frills and simple flag-raising ceremony with only a few personnel of the City Hall in attendance.

The City Cultural and Historical Affairs Office said that with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, public events are not yet allowed.

The flag-raising was a symbolic gesture for Independence Day, even without the public to witness it.

Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who chairs the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC), said the celebration of the 122nd Independence Day is unique this year because the spirit of the celebration could not be more significant in these trying times.

“Independence Day is very important, especially in times of crisis, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic, where the deaths are being added,” said Rama in a phone interview with CDN Digital.

Rama said that as the pandemic continues, there is a need to emphasize the independence and the autonomy of local government units (LGUs) in the country in putting up measures against the virus.

“Independence in terms of local governance. The local government unit knows better how to handle the situation in their jurisdiction. Of course, we need the national government’s help, but sometimes the bureaucracy makes our moves a little bit slow. Decision making is being affected,” he said.

Recently, the city government’s plan to lift the lockdown of some areas in Cebu City have fallen into deaf ears with the Philippine National Police (PNP).

A week has passed since Mayor Edgardo Labella announced the lifting of the lockdown in Sitio Zapatera, but the order is still stuck with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) awaiting approval.

Read: OCD approval causes delay in lifting of lockdown in Cebu City

This has caused the City Council to question who has autonomy and jurisdiction over the locking down and lifting of such lockdowns in the city.

Aside from this local concerns, Rama also urged the public to reflect on national issues such as the impending passing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, which is awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I am bringing the attention to everybody, amidst COVID-19, amidst the final approval of the Anti Terrorism Bill, we wish Malacañan to be more circumspect. We should be reminded of the sacredness, importance of the Bill of Rights, the constitution, and the fundamental law of the land that enshrines our basic rights,” said Rama.

The vice mayor urged the President to review the provisions of the bill before signing it and determine if it really does not impede or counter the basic rights of the citizens.

Finally, the vice mayor urged the public to honor the heroes of the country this Independence Day including the modern-day heroes of the pandemic, the front liners.

“Empowerment is very much attached to independence. Empowerment is delegation, empowerment is entrusting. That’s why we have to remember our heroes who fought for our independence; and now in this malady, they include all our front liners, all our public servants who have been working so hard.,” he said. /bmjo

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TAGS: 122nd Independence Day, autonomy of LGUs, City Cultural and Historical Affairs Office, City hall, Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-19, Independence Day 2020, Vice Mayor Michael Rama

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