First-term dads learn the ropes of lawmaking

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014


A YEAR after they assumed office, five first-term Cebu City Councilors described their political differences in the council as a complimentary factor in coming up with good legislation.

They were all members of the minority of the council and ran during the last election
under Mayor Michael Rama’s Team Rama.

Though, at first, two out of five councilors were not given any committee chairmanship and membership, Councilors Mary Ann de Los Santos and Dave Tumulak said it did not hinder them in exercising their mandate.

“It is always a game of numbers and, certain times, we lose in the game, particularly during voting in the council,” de Los Santos told Sun.Star Cebu.

“I am playing my cards well, our work as a councilor does not only evolve within the corners of City Hall, we extend our service beyond,” she said.

Executive functions

Last year, de Los Santos did not handle any membership and chairmanship of a committee in the council. However, Rama delegated an executive function to her.

She became the ad hoc committee chair of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) and also handles the Women’s Affair and Children’s Welfare Commission of the executive department.

After the inaugural address yesterday, de Los Santos was designated as member of council committees on health, law, social services and cooperatives, while Tumulak became a member of the committees on public order and safety, tourism and information and communication technology.

Rama also gave Tumulak the executive function on public safety and security and the disaster response and preparedness.

So far, he has been handling the City’s Command and Control Center.

He said that even without a committee in the council, he continues to perform and has served the people of the city, particularly in times of disaster.

“I am not just a legislator. I am a planner, executor and doer,” Tumulak added.

The former village chief turned city councilor sponsored and co-authored 86 resolutions and three ordinances in a matter of year in office.

Luckier

Councilors James Cuenco and Nendell Hans Abella were luckier after they were given chairmanship and membership since last year.

Cuenco is the chairman of the committee on tourism and pushed for the measure that established the sister-city commission of the city.

“The majority is reasonable and if they see a particular measure as logical and effective, they are very supportive,” Cuenco said.

He is also a member of the committee on markets now.

Since he came from the academe before entering politics, Abella was designated as a member of the committee on education last year.

As a first-time politician, Abella said he had observed that members of the council crossed party lines in dealing with major legislation.

“In fairness to the majority, they all gave us opportunity to participate,” Abella told Sun.Star Cebu.

Abella is also a member of the committees on games, amusement and sports, and infrastructure.

Another Team Rama ally got a seat in the council last December.

Councilor Phillip Zafra added to the force of the four other councilors after winning the presidency of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC).

Zafra, as ABC president, handles the committee on barangay affairs.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 03, 2014.

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