Osmeña to supporters: Don’t vote for Bimbo for VM, don’t divide votes for BOPK or else Garcia wins
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is asking Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) supporters not to vote for his friend, former undersecretary, Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez for Vice Mayor.
He said that as much as he loved Fernandez deeply, the division that this would cost in the votes might pave way to Barug PDP Laban’s candidate, Councilor Raymond Garcia’s win.
Instead, he urged the public to vote for incumbent Councilor Franklyn Ong for Vice Mayor and vote straight for BOPK.
He said that Garcia’s win would be a disaster for the beneficiaries of the 93-1 land swap.
“Mawala gyod atong 93-1, they are committed to give it (deal) back to (Governor) Gwendolyn Garcia. We cannot afford BOPK to be split,” Osmeña said.
(Our 93-1 will be gone, they are committed to give it (deal) back to (Governor) Gwendolyn Garcia. We cannot afford BOPK to be split.)
“So I’m asking all our friends labi na sa (especially to the) urban poor. What we have to do, we cannot make Bimbo win, that will make Raymond win. That will be a disaster for the urban poor,” said the former mayor.
He draws concern that the city’s 93-1 landswap deal with the Cebu Provincial Capitol will reach a dead end if Councilor Garcia will be elected.
This may stem from the fact that Governor Garcia and Osmeña had been at odds multiple times when they sat parallel each other in past terms.
It can also be remembered that Osmeña and former governor now Vice Governor Hilario Davide III, signed a deal for the 93-1 landswap in 2018.
However, the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the deal prompting their successors, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and late Mayor Edgardo Labella to renegotiate in 2019.
“Bimbo will always play a role, but this is the wrong time and the wrong place and there will be severe consequences for the urban poor,” said Osmeña.
For his part, Fernandez said he understood the statements and the call of Osmeña.
“I am not a BOPK candidate. I am running independent,” he said in a phone interview.
Fernandez assured that his relationship with Osmeña remained amicable despite their being in different parties for the elections.
He added that he would campaign to all and not to any particular supporters alone.
As for Councilor Garcia, he said that contrary to Osmeña’s opinion, he would be the best chance for the 93-1 beneficiaries to get their land.
He has been negotiating with the Capitol for over a year now with the given advantage that the governor is his aunt.
“Ako nang nasugdan og negotiate sa governor. It really requires the consent, cooperation of the governor. Di naman na mapugngan nga modaog si Governor Gwen Garcia ig 2022,” Councilor Garcia said.
(I have started to negotiate with the governor. It really requires the consent, cooperation of the governor. We cannot stop Governor Gwen Garcia to win in 2022.)
“I am in the best position to negotiate for the 93-1. It will be a disaster for 93-1 if I am not elected Vice Mayor,” said the councilor.
Councilor Garcia said that the new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the 93-1 was already underway.
It may be a little late as he promised before that the deal will be done by Christmas, since the death of Mayor Labella has caused massive changes in the city administration.
The new MOA will have to be signed by Mayor Michael Rama and the new mayor has yet to review the recent negotiations on the 93-1 landswap.
Still, he promised that by January 2022, a new MOA will be ready for signing and the 5,000 families within the 93-1 properties would finally call their homes their own.
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