Group surfaces, willing to remove CICC tarp if…

By Victor Anthony V. Silva and Nestle L. Semilla |November 13,2015 - 02:26 AM

Six members of a group that  claimed responsibility for  mounting the yellow “Never Again”  billboard in front of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) finally showed up at the Capitol to meet Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III  yesterday.

Renil Oliva, spokesman of the Cebuanos for Good Governance and Development (CGGD), said they were willing to comply with any requirement of the  Mandaue City government, whose permit they didn’t seek before.

“Just in case their decision is to have it removed, we will take it down ourselves,” he said.

Oliva said he was a former member of the Kabataan Party list group, and that “All of us want a government that is free from corruption.”

Reniel Oliva, one of the convenors of the Cebuanos for Good Governance and Development (CGCD), speaks to reporters after meeting with Gov. Hilario Davide III.

Reniel Oliva, one of the convenors of the Cebuanos for Good Governance and Development (CGCD), speaks to reporters after meeting with Gov. Hilario Davide III.

He said the group would start holding radio interviews and forums in the last week of November.

Their lead convenor, Mariel Kay Estrada, who signed a letter earlier expresssing their interest to launch a campaign,  was present  and introduced herself as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) com munity.

Governor Davide was told the CGGD is a coalition of cause-oriented groups including Bisdak Pride, Kabataan Partylist and a Cordova fisherfolk association and individual convenors.

Asked who installed the 60 foot by 20 foot tarps, Oliva would only say someone who supports the coalition,  “has the necessary equipment” to do it.

The other members who showed up declined to give their names.

Governor Davide called for the  meeting to discuss how to address a complaint that reached Mandaue City Hall about the billboard.

He said Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes phoned him about the complaint and that Mandaue’s  committee on billboard and outdoor advertising were meeting on the issue.

In Mandaue, the committee held a closed-door meeting presided by Councilor Elstone Dabon, who said no permit was issued for the billboard nor were they aware of anyone applying for one.

City Treasurer Regal Oliva said there was the option of collecting a tax for the signage.

“Since the province said the billboard isn’t theirs, we can venture into taxing it,” he said.

The CICC is owned by the province and co-managed by Mandaue city, which owns the land.

Since an NGO owns the tarpaulin, they will have to pay permit fees, said the treasurer but didn’t say how much.

“I’m sure whoever put up that humongous billboard  can afford it,” said the treasurer.  (The two Olivas are not related to each other.)

The special body headed by the mayor is chaired by  Councilor Diosdado Suico, who was still in Manila yesterday with other Mandaue officials for the city’s exhibit for APEC.

“I  am convinced this is a legitimate group. I’ve spoken to each one of them,” Governor Davide  told reporters.

The first billboard “Never Again” appeared last month and was followed recently with a second tarp below it stating:  “P840,202,438.05 MILLION OF PEOPLE’S MONEY WASTED!!!, a clear reference to the former administration of Governor Gwen Garcia, who had the CICC built for the 2007 ASEAN summit.

The governor said he was told by convenors that the CGGD is a coalition of cause-oriented groups including Bisdak Pride, Kabataan Partylist, and a fisherfolk association in Cordova, and individual convenors, among others.

The group existed for a long time already, but they adopted the name a few months ago.

Oliva, the spokesman, said their  message is timely for the election as it will teach Cebuano voters, especially the youth, about which standards to use when choosing candidates.

Since access to the CICC  is restricted, and secured by Capitol guards, most people assume the banner was a  campaign   tactic of the Liberal Party, of which Davide is provincial chariman.

Oliva said they  showed  CICC guards the letter sent to the governor’s office signed “received” even though they didn’t get any response from his office yet.

Oliva said the billboard was solely the group’s initiative.

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