Malacañang sa Sugbu to reopen if Binay wins

By: Carmel Loise Matus, Victor Anthony V. Silva February 16,2016 - 10:04 PM
Vice President Jejomar Binay speaks before members of One Cebu Party after the group announced their support for his candidacy. He assures the reopening of Malacanang sa Sugbo if he wins his bid to be the country's next president. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Vice President Jejomar Binay speaks before members of One Cebu Party after the group announced their support for his candidacy. He assures the reopening of Malacanang sa Sugbo if he wins his bid to be the country’s next president. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

The Malacañang sa Sugbo may become operational again if Vice President Jejomar Binay is elected president.

In a speech during the launching of One Cebu-United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) coalition on Tuesday, Binay promised to put up a Malacañang satellite office to personally take care of the needs of Cebuanos.

He also promised that Cebu would get funds for at least one mega project per year if elected president.

“Under my presidency, each region and province will have funding for at least one mega project per year. And we will start here in Cebu,” Binay told at least 3,000 members of UNA and One Cebu, comprised of  mayors, vice mayors, councilors, barangay officials and workers.

Binay’s UNA and One Cebu, led by the Garcia family, formally launched their alliance on Tuesday before a packed crowd inside the Pacific Ballroom of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

Binay was accompanied by his running mate, Sen. Gregorio Honasan and five UNA senatorial candidates – broadcaster Rey Langit, Princess Jacel Kiram, Parañaque City Councilor Alma Moreno, former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas and labor leader lawyer Allan Moreño.

One Cebu was led by its gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia, former general manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) during the term of former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Other One Cebu leaders in the assembly were vice-gubernatorial candidate Nerissa Soon-Ruiz; Representatives Gwen Garcia of the 3rd district and Benhur Salimbangon of the 4th district; Pablo John Garcia, Winston’s younger brother who is running for 7th district congressman; former Barili vice mayor Marlon Garcia and the Garcia patriarch Pablo Garcia.

Their arrival at the Pacific Grand Ballroom was greeted with  festive percussion music amid the  loud applause of members who were all in blue and white, the party colors of One Cebu.

It was during the Arroyo administration when the old Customs Building, built in 1910, near Pier 1 was transformed into the Malacañang of the South in 2004. But the Aquino administration never used the Malacañang sa Sugbo, prompting Mayor Michael Rama to describe it as “ghost building.”

While Binay did not directly identify the Malacañang sa Sugbo, the Vice President stressed the need for the Office of the President to have a satellite office in Cebu to bring the national government closer to the people.

“(It is only right that) the national government (should give) assistance (to the) local governments. This is the principle of subsidiarity: the agencies that are closer to the people are in a better position to assess and respond to the needs of the people,” he said.

Binay cited the case of Cebu where although the provincial government is headed  by a member of the Liberal Party, the national government has not implemented infrastructure projects to solve problems like traffic and flooding.

He recalled that when he raised these problems last year, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) showed the projects and programs lined up for Cebu.

“But drawings and plans are just that: drawings and plans. And until we put our shovels in the dirt, and until the cement mixers start rolling, they will remain drawings and plans,” he said.

Binay said that under his presidency, he would require the development councils of each province to submit their plans and would make sure that these were implemented.

He said he intended to allocate one mega project per year to every province.

Binay described the alliance between One Cebu and UNA as “historic” for the political opposition.

“Today, we have entered into a covenant binding the United Nationalist Alliance or UNA, the biggest opposition party today, with One Cebu, the largest opposition coalition in this great province of Cebu,” he said.

In his message, Pablo John Garcia, One Cebu secretary general, recalled how UNA and Binay stood up for his sister, Gwendolyn, who, as governor of Cebu, was suspended by Malacañang in 2012.

He said Binay was the only official who stood by her; and UNA the only party that showed support for her and their family.

“All the other presidentiables, they were silent,” he said. Salimbangon said Binay was the highest-ranking government official who went to his district when northern Cebu was battered by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in November 2013.

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TAGS: election, Elections, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Jejomar Binay, Malacanang sa Sugbo, One Cebu, Pacific Ballroom of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Princess Jacel Kiram, Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas, UNA

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