City Council strip broadcaster of job-A A +A
Thursday, October 18, 2012
THE Cebu City Council on Wednesday decided to cut the consultancy contract of Mayor Michael Rama’s consultant on broadcast and media affairs, saying that his radio program is “one-sided.”
During their regular session yesterday, the council, voting 3-13, decided not to renew the consultancy contract of Antonio Avila for July to December.
Based on the resolution filed by Councilor Jose Daluz III, Avila is receiving a monthly pay of P18,000 from the City Government.
Councilor Margarita Osmeña said the council was left out in Avila’s discussions during his program “Banat Sugbu” at dyRF.
“You discussed the 2012 budget, but we were never asked to air our side. It would have been good and fair to have all those concerned explain and answer questions. You have a one-sided view of the City’s activities,” said Osmeña.
The mayor proposed an P11.8-billion budget this year, but the council reduced it to only P5.2 billion because of lack of funding sources.
Considering that he is being paid by the City, Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young told Avila that he should have been neutral in his program.
“Ang problema man gud nimo mo-side kang Mike,” he said.
Avila, who was asked to speak before the council, answered that he allowed comments from listeners both for and against the mayor to be aired.
But Young said those who commented on Avila’s radio program are only those from the camp of Team Rama.
For the 2012 budget, Avila told the members of the legislative body that he tried to get interviews with the City Treasurer’s Office and City Budget Office.
However, Osmeña said it would be properly answered by her, being the head of the budget and finance committee, saying the budget is a council discussion.
Councilor Alvin Dizon, on his part, pointed out to Avila that in their program “City Council Reports” at the Cebu Catholic Television Network (CCTN), resolutions and ordinances of Team Rama councilors like Daluz, Edgardo Labella and Eduardo Rama are being aired.
“So I hope patas lang unta (we would given equal chance),” he said.
Councilors Ronald Cuenco and Lea Japson asked the members of the council to give Avila a chance, approve the renewal of his contract, and just monitor his program, which runs Monday to Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Osmeña objected to the matter though, prompting the council to divide the house.
Out of the 16 councilors present in the session yesterday (Councilors Edgardo Labella and Rodrigo Abellanosa were absent), only three of them voted for the renewal of Avila’s consultancy contract. They are Daluz, Rama and Cuenco.
Avila, who has been in the media industry for 50 years, believes he has become “collateral damage” in the conflict between the mayor and the council.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 18, 2012.