Mayor insists Cebu city is ‘Queen City of PH’
by Nestle L. Semilla and Jose Santino Bunachita
Cebu City is the “Queen City of the Philippines”, and not just the south, said Mayor Michael Rama in a speech where he called for “unity” during a 78th Charter Day program yesterday morning.
Speaking at Plaza Sugbo after a Mass and flag raising ceremony, Rama said Cebu deserves the title because the city is more peaceful and orderly, and has historic significance as the cradle of Christianity in the Philippines.
“If you look at Cebu, it’s not as affected as Luzon and not as troubled as Mindanao. That’s why we should always claim this… because where is the Queen City of the North? Is there any? ” Rama said
Rama’s five-year administration officially aspires to be “the most livable city for all”.
However, the capital of Cebu today struggles with urban growth headaches of traffic congestion, an inadequate road network, garbage collection, flooding and a rapidly changing skyline amidst a lack of integrated master planning and political intramurals with a City Council packed with critics of the mayor.
Rama said the city as a “queen” just has to enhance some aspects like infrastructure, environment, education, and business even as he called for “unity” to bring Cebu forward.
“Politics need not be highlighted in the celebration. Oneness should be pronounced. There is unity in diversity. We should never be divided,” he said.
“Without fear of contradiction, I ,as your mayor will tell you, that Cebu City is the Queen City of the Philippines.”
“If you are in contradiction with this stand, you lack memory. When you are not into this direction, you are not aware of whats going on in Luzon, in Mindanao but (see) what’s been going on continuously in Cebu led by Cebu City” he said
A Mass was officiated by Fr. Jonas Mejares, rector of the Sto. Niño basilica. The Rama clan offered flowers before a life-size brass statue of Don Vicente Rama in the Plaza Sugbo, the first time the new monument was made part of the Charter Day rites.
(The monument was installed last year along with a statue of Sergio “Serging” Osmeña Jr., the city’s first elected mayor. )
Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, several councilors, department heads, councilors and barangay officials were present.
In his speech, the mayor reminded city personnel that public service gives “meaning” to their lives.
“We have a mission. Give meaning to the word service. Don’t just live for a bonus, don’t just live because of awards, don’t just live because of incentives. Live so that when you die, you are still alive in the hearts and minds (of people.),” he said.
He said his cousin, Basak Pardo barangay captain George Rama, who passed away last month, would be remembered this way, as a man of courage with a record of good governance. Rama said he was offering this year’s charter day celebration in his memory.
Last night, the Cebu city government was set to hold a testimonial dinner and give awards to outstanding institutions, individuals, special mayor’s awards and posthumous awards at the Waterfront Lahug ballroom. (His cousin George is one of the recipients)
In his morning speech, Rama said he “hates” giving posthumous awards and that people should be appreciated when they are still alive.
Starting next year, he said, with his instruction to Vice Mayor Labella, who heads the awards screening body, the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC), the annual city awards should be given to worthy recipients who are still alive and regardless of political colors, “as long as they have contributed to what Cebu City is now, whether they will come or not to the ceremony.”
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