METRO Cebu’s mayors are upbeat about 2013, when they plan to pursue infrastructure and other projects in an election year.
Like them, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she will stay positive, although she is fighting in court an order suspending her for the final six months of her term.
Cebu City’s Mayor Michael Rama said that in 2013 he wants to expand a beautification project to the coastal areas, while the City Council led by Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young plans, among others, to amend the zoning ordinance to address the need for parking spaces.
Among his final acts in 2011, Mayor Rama again visited Governor Garcia at the Capitol, where she has stayed since Dec. 19. That day, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale took oath as acting governor, after a copy of the suspension order was left on the governor’s door.
Mayor Rama said his wish is for “the rightful governor” to remain and for the situation at the Capitol, triggered by the suspension for six months of Governor Garcia, to be settled.
“Ako ning gilantaw nga usa ka dakong pagsulay kanako apan may purpose man. May katuyuan ang Kahitas-an sa tanan nga panghitabo sa tagsa-tagsa nato nga kinabuhi (I consider this a severe test, but I know it has a purpose. The Almighty has a plan for each of us),” the governor told reporters.
In a press conference, Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia said the important thing is that their family remained united while they celebrated the holidays at the Capitol.
The Office of the President has ordered Governor Garcia’s suspension for six months, as penalty for an administrative case for grave misconduct filed in 2010 by then Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr.
The Garcia family was also planning to ring in the New Year last night at the governor’s office, where she has stayed for more than two weeks now.
The deputy speaker, himself a former three-term governor of Cebu, said he could not help but feel that something was amiss whenever he responded to a holiday greeting.
“We are expected to respond, ‘Merry Christmas’ pero dunay kahaw-ang sa paglitok og (yet there was something missing when we said) ‘Merry Christmas’ because it was not merry,” he quipped.
Outside the Capitol, Metro Cebu’s mayors took time out from the holiday break to discuss their plans for 2013.
In an interview yesterday, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said she plans to focus on the rehabilitation and improvement of city roads, particularly within Barangay Basak where the traffic is at its worst.
In Talisay City, Mayor Socrates Fernandez said that in the last six months of his term, he plans to prioritize livelihood projects for out-of-school youth.
Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong said the infrastructure projects planned for 2013 are part of efforts to attract new investors. These include a new public market and an expansion of the City’s reclamation project.
Radaza said that her administration has not fully met the demands of constituents for better roads, because of the lack of funds. However, she added that in 2012, the City made significant inroads in ecotourism projects and in introducing the islands as potential tourist spots.
Fernandez, for his part, also hopes to tap the Talisay City College to give deserving young people a chance to go to school.
As for Naga, Chiong told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that in 2013, several businesses will open their plants in the city, which will provide an estimated P100 million as the City’s income.
Naga’s budget for 2013 is P650 million.
Aside from the market and reclamation projects, Naga also plans to build a sports oval in the Naga City Central School, for an estimated cost of P30 to P50 million.
With the start of a new year, officials of the Cebu City Government revealed their plans and priority projects.
Mayor Rama said the City Government intends to build a seawall with a three-meter easement along the coastal area, particularly from Barangays Sawang Calero to
Inayawan. The three-meter easement will be used as boardwalk for the residents.
The ongoing restoration and beautification project is being conducted from Pier 1 up to the Cebu Port Authority area, he pointed out.
In Cogon Pardo, Rama said, he wants to improve the area as a wetland where mangroves will be propagated and bird-watching can be encouraged at certain times of the year.
Funding for these projects will be drawn from the P5.19-billion approved budget of the City Government for 2013.
Other priority projects of the mayor are continuing programs such as asphalting the city’s streets and concreting the roads in mountain barangays.
As for the City Council, Vice Mayor Young said they intend to update the zoning ordinance, particularly on the parking requirements for condominium projects.
His other priority projects, the vice mayor said, include working with Councilor Alvin Dizon on housing programs and Councilor Nida Cabrera to address the solid waste management problem.
Young said he will be working the City’s scholarship committee, as it has not been organized yet. He also seeks to institutionalize the city’s nursery program.
Dizon told Sun.Star Cebu he will focus on the passage of his ordinance that seeks to impose a moratorium on the demolition of illegal structures at the Citicenter Commercial Complex in Barangay Kamagayan.
Aside from this, Dizon, who heads the council’s committee on housing, said he will also work on the construction of more condominium projects in the Old Lorega San Miguel Cemetery in partnership with Rep. Rachel del Mar (Cebu City, north district) and non-government organizations.
The City intends to build eight three-storey medium-rise buildings inside the old cemetery. Just last year, the first building, whose construction was funded by del Mar’s share of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, was finished.
Cabrera said she will draft an ordinance that will provide incentives to businesses that formulate and implement a sustainable environmental management plan.
Aside from this, she will work on an environmental code, which will incorporate the solid waste management program of the City Government.