Rama to PRO 7 chief: Don’t scare tourists away-A A +A
Friday, January 4, 2013
WITH the opening of the Sinulog celebration next week, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday ordered Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 chief Marcelo Garbo Jr. to stop deploying police personnel at the Capitol grounds.
“I want to make it very clear that I don’t want more policemen at the Capitol. I don’t want to see the Capitol (looking) like a prison. I don’t want to be seeing the city like it is under siege,” he said.
Rama said the presence of more policemen at the Capitol might create a bad impression to tourists and Sto. Niño devotees.
“They might think that Cebu City has a peace and order problem,” he said.
The opening of the Sinulog celebration will begin on Jan. 10 and will culminate on Jan. 20 with the grand parade.
The PRO 7 deployed police troops at the Capitol on Dec. 18, when the Department of Interior and Local Government posted the Malacañang order putting Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia under suspension.
Meanwhile, Garcia said she will give financial aid to the Sinulog Foundation if the Court of Appeals grants her petition for a temporary restraining order against her suspension. With that, she would like to dance again during the grand parade.
Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale said she will also give financial assistance to the Sinulog Foundation, but “not much.” She did not mention an amount.
Garbo said earlier that the troops were stationed at the Capitol to maintain peace and order while Garcia continued to defy the order by staying in her office.
But Rama said the police should not prevent Garcia’s supporters from gathering at the Capitol grounds. “That is their constitutional right. You cannot also stop them especially if they have a permit,” he added.
With that, he also wants the police to remove the steel railings placed at the entrance of the Capitol building.
Rama said he talked with Garbo about the presence of the police troops.
“He has been made aware that I am not happy that the region (PRO 7) is coming into the city,” he said.
He also said he instructed Sr. Supt. Mariano Natuel, officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Police Office, to discuss with Garbo how to maintain peace and order at the Capitol during the Sinulog celebration.
In a related development, Liberal Party gubernatorial candidate Hilario Davide III called Garcia a “squatter.”
“Garcia is a squatter at the Capitol, living at the Province’s expense,” he said in a statement.
Davide’s camp earlier said that Garcia be made to pay for the water and electricity she consumed while staying in her office at the Capitol.
Garcia said those who made the suggestion are “narrow-minded,” adding that she has contributed to the economic growth of Cebu Province.
Magpale, Davide’s runningmate in the elections this May, said Garcia can stay as long as she does not hamper Capitol’s delivery of basic services.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 04, 2013.