Rama on Garcia as tandem in 2025, CBRT dispute: ‘I’m an independent mayor’

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 01,2024 - 12:33 PM

Rama on Garcia as tandem in 2025, CBRT dispute: 'I'm an independent mayor'

Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia (left) and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (right) in 2022 elections campaign. Photo from Mayor Mike Rama/Facebook [FILE PHOTO]

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama “is an independent mayor.”

This was Rama’s answer when questioned about his political relationship with Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT).

In an interview on Friday, March 1, Rama mentioned that he was still assessing their current political dynamics with Garcia, especially considering that the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC) was yet remote.

READ: Rama to Gwen on BRT: Enough is enough

It can be recalled that Garcia expressed support for Cebu Provincial Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s decision to order a halt to the ongoing construction of a bus station fronting the Capitol due to heritage and visual concerns.

“I will not be talking about it. October is still far behind, but the most important thing to remember… I am an independent mayor,” Rama stressed.

Last February 16, Garcia announced that he would run again as Vice Mayor in the 2025 polls, alongside Rama.

They made the pronouncement during a meeting with barangay captains of all 80 barangays of Cebu City at a local hotel.

Meanwhile, Rama also issued a cautionary message to his political peers, advising them to tread “carefully,” as he has endured his fair share of issues during his 32-year tenure serving Cebu City.

“This is my 32 years already serving Cebu City… my colleagues should be very, very careful,” he said.

READ: Cebu City council seeks halt to CBRT construction due to heritage concerns

On February 27, the Cebu Provincial government issued memorandum No. 16-2024, addressed to the Cebu BRT Team and the contractor, Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd., to halt civil works on province-owned lots along Osmeña Boulevard.

The governor pointed out in the memorandum that the ongoing construction of the Cebu BRT has encroached upon portions of the buffer zones of the Cebu Provincial Capitol and Fuente Osmeña Circle.

Additionally, the Cebu City Council passed a resolution to pause the ongoing civil works of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project at the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

This decision was made due to concerns that the construction poses a visual intrusion on the iconic building.

Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia initiated the motion during the city council’s regular session on Wednesday, February 28, urging the Office of the Building Official (OBO) to issue a cease-and-desist order against the construction of a bus station, which was part of the CBRT project.

In response to the ongoing issue, on February 29, Rama expressed his frustration, stating that he had had enough with Cebu Governor Garcia’s orders to halt the construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on province-owned lots along Osmeña Boulevard.

READ: Gwen orders to halt Cebu BRT construction in heritage buffer zones

He also criticized Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia for supporting the governor’s decision.

For Rama, the BRT issue is the last straw in Governor Garcia’s meddling with affairs concerning Cebu City.

“I would like to remind the governor that there’s a mayor of a highly urbanized city… Come on! Kanus-a man kuno ang gobernador mudikta sa syudad? Di na mahimo (When can a governor dictate the city? That won’t happen) while I’m the mayor,” Rama said.

READ: Comelec OK with simultaneous 2025 midterm polls, Cha-cha plebiscite

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TAGS: Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT), Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia

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