Binay promises to give Cebu P145B projects yearly if he wins
IF VICE President Jejomar Binay becomes president, Cebu City will get P145 billion worth of projects every year, said Mayor Michael Rama.
“When I have my president, my president will commit billions. I asked for a P145 billion commitment for Cebu City,” he told reporters yesterday.
He said this was committed by Binay, the standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to which Team Rama is an ally of.
The announcement was made by Rama during his press conference yesterday when reporters asked him on the status of the Cebu-Cordova Bridge project after he was authorized by the City Council to sign the joint-venture agreement with the Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC).
He said he hasn’t received a copy of the resolution but welcomed the update especially since he said it’s been one of the projects he pushed when he was still the chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7.
Rama then continued talking about a list of infrastructure projects he would have wanted to implement in the city if he was given the money from the current administration, which he said has looked over Cebu City since he’s not allied with the ruling party.
Among the projects he enumerated were the reclamation of the city’s coastal area from the South Road Properties (SRP) passing through Barangay Inayawan until the city’s piers up to the Cebu International Port (CIP); development of a city highland in the upland barangays; improving the easement of rivers without displacing settlers; construction of dams; and more housing sites for the media, teachers, police, among others.
“The head of your mayor is so replete and in abundance with things (that) need to be done. Give me a new mandate. Why would I attend a debate? Because I have made my stand that we should never engage in a debate,” he said.
Rama cited as an example Iloilo City, which he said has received more than P100 billion from the administration.
As for Cebu City, the biggest project it got, he said, is the P10.6 billion Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project which, he said, took a long time to get approved.
“The coastal connecting to SRP, without having to displace settlers . . . subways connecting buildings . . . rivers will be beautified . . . All rivers will be as environmentally friendly, socially also, encouraging because whoever are staying in the three-easement will be part of the development. They are not going to be removed just anywhere,” he said.
The reclamation, he said, will also develop parallel roads.
As for the “city highlands,” Rama said he envisions to develop the mountain barangays, and even including areas within the jurisdiction of the province, to become like Baguio City.
Tunnels that bore through mountains, without destroying them, like the ones in Japan, can also be constructed in Cebu City, Rama said.
He even mentioned a plan by SM’s Hans Sy to construct a cable car facility from SM City Cebu going to Sudlon I, which he said is the summer capital of the city.
Rama said Sy pledged to construct the facility as long as the city government will assist in terms of land acquisition.
Other programs Rama wants include addressing the city’s Sewerage Treatment Plan, formulating a drainage comprehensive plan, solid waste management plan and coastal development plan.
A center can also be constructed for “irresponsible parents” instead of a rehabilitation center for drug dependents, Rama said.
“If there is such a thing as drugs anonymous, alcoholics anonymous, we can also have an irresponsible parents anonymous,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rama also said he wants to increase the honoraria granted by the city government to garbage drivers and loaders.
But with the political season already heating up, Rama admitted that this could wait until after the elections.
“They’re doing the dirty job of making Cebu City clean. We should give them what they deserve,” he said.
Solid Waste Management Board (SWMB) head Jade Ponce said the mayor’s plan is to increase it to P10,000 from the current P5,000 per month.
He said an increase to P7,000 was already included in this year’s P6.4 billion annual budget but since the city is operating on a reenacted budget from 2015 due to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) finding the budget inoperative, the amount remains.
“The mayor promised that maybe by the end of summer, we hope to increase it by P10,000. But the long term view is to actually professionalize the service. After all, it’s not a special one-time project. Garbage collection and transport is a regular, consistent basic need,” Ponce said.
But Councilor Sisinio Andales, a Rama critic, said the plan is just a way of politicking.
“Under the election code, you can’t release money during election period without approval and consent from Comelec. If it’s released, it will be highly questionable. Pamulitika na iyang gihimo. It should have been done before or after the campaign period,” he said.
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