Rama fails to impress Tom O, BO-PK allies

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita July 05,2015 - 11:31 PM
MAYOR RAMA'S SOCA/JULY 4, 2015: Cebu City mayor Michael Rama deliver his State of the City Address (SOCA) infront of the Port San Pedro (background) at Plaza Independencia.(CDN/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

MAYOR RAMA’S SOCA/JULY 4, 2015: Cebu City mayor Michael Rama deliver his State of the City Address (SOCA) infront of the Port San Pedro (background) at Plaza Independencia.(CDN/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

WHAT will it take to impress former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña?

The former mayor and congressman, whose efforts to develop the South Road Properties (SRP) was recognized by Mayor Michael Rama on Saturday, said revenue from the sale of SRP lots is not sustainable.

“We, Cebuanos, should all be thankful that there is an SRP. If the SRP weren’t there, we wouldn’t have anything to sell to save us from the financial mess the current administration has put us in. But this pattern is not sustainable,” Osmeña told Cebu Daily News in a text message.

“If this doesn’t stop, there will eventually be no more SRP left to sell,” he added.

Osmeña said selling the lots is like chopping down a tree.

“The SRP is a mango tree that we planted 20 years ago not for ourselves, but so our children and grandchildren can enjoy its fruits. If we chop down the tree now, yes, we can sell the wood, but we will lose its fruits forever,” he said.

Two councilors allied with the Bando Osmeña – Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK), which Osmeña founded, were also not impressed by the mayor’s accomplishments.

Councilor Sisinio Andales criticized Rama for merely continuing the programs initiated by former mayor Osmeña. He said the mayor didn’t touch on controversies involving his administration.

“He failed to mention the true state of the city like the reasons for the delay for three months in the (release of) financial assistance to senior citizens, PWDs, barangay officials, day-care workers, burial, medical and others. Do we have money prior to the partial payment of SRP?” he said.

“He failed to mention why he stopped the extension of CTU in Bonbon, projects of congressman (Rodrigo) Bebot Abellanosa and (former) congressman Raul Del Mar?

When he mentioned he ‘stands for the oppressed,’ why did he continue the demolition of the houses at Ramos extension, Capitol Site? Citicenter and Kamagayan? Warwick Barracks? Ermita? Mahiga? And he says his heart is with the poor?” Andales added.

In his State of the City Address (SOCA) on Saturday, Rama called on councilor Alvin Dizon, Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) chief Collin Rosell and his son Mikel to work on providing housing, especially to those living in danger zones, using part of the proceeds from the sale of SRP lots.

Dizon, who heads the committee on housing, criticized Rama for not using budget appropriations for housing in previous years.

“Before SRP funds came in, we have already appropriated some P800 million from 2012 to present for lot acquisition and site development projects. Perhaps the mayor can explain what has caused the delay of the implementation of the city’s housing projects, especially for informal settlers living in danger areas. What the city should do. Action, not lip service,” Dizon told CDN in a text message.

The successful bidding of two SRP lots, which generated a total bid of P16.7 billion, was the highlight of the mayor’s speech. With the proceeds, he said he will pay off the P3-billion outstanding balance of the SRP loan.

Sought for comment, councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña, who heads the committee on budget and finance, said “Good!”

Aside from the SRP lot sale, Rama reported through an audio-visual presentation the accomplishments of his administration.

Rama said his thrust has been consistent with “SEE D BIG PPP,” acronym for social services, environment, education, development, business, infrastructure, governance, public affairs, place and people.

On environmental programs, Rama highlighted coastal cleanups which collected 70 tons of garbage, 30 tons daily collection of market garbage, composting centers in 53 barangays reducing 25 percent of the city’s wastes, technical assistance to 2,358 farmers, 70 percent reduction in electricity consumption and distribution of 60,000 forest trees, 60,000 fruit trees, 20,000 assorted plants and 120,300 assorted seedlings.

Job fairs have also been held for city residents and the first phase of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), which has a contract price of P514 million, has started. Around P5 billion was also collected in business taxes last year.

“We must always bring premium to infrastructure without prejudicing preservation of heritage and mindful of history. For anyone failing to remember the lessons of the past is doomed to commit the same mistake,” he said.

Rama’s presentation also focused on his People Privately-Driven Governance (PPDG) approach, which has produced at least P100-million worth of projects at no cost to the city. Establishment of a satellite City Hall in the uplands and the City Hall-at-your-doorstep were also underscored.

Rama also promised to resolve the Lot 93-1 issue together with Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III.

“I have committed with Governor Junjun Davide that before our terms will end, we must have closure and give relief and reprieve to those who’ve been troubled on their tenurial rights and that is 93-1. We will finish and we will solve it because we love all of you,” he said.

“I cannot do it alone. The real wind are all of you. Private sector, my family, city hall employees, department heads, NGOs, Vice Mayor (Edgardo) Labella. We are not oblivious that there are more and more challenges that the city has to confront,” Rama added.

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TAGS: Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan, BO-PK, BO-PK allies, Cebu, Cebu City, Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, Mayor Rama, Rama fails to impress Tom O, South Road Properties, SRP

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