New hospital, bus system top Cebu mayor’s to-do list

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014


CEBU -- The administration of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama will pursue at least 20 projects this year until his term ends in 2016, he told the council in his State of the City Address on Wednesday.

The mayor also said that the City Government remained “seaworthy” despite several challenges, adding that City Hall has P1.7 billion cash in banks.

Rama reported on the status of the city, his accomplishments and his plans as he completed his fourth year as mayor and the first year since his reelection, after defeating former ally Tomas Osmeña in May 2013.

“It was a year of great calamities for us...Despite it all, the optimists that we are and the Christians we ought to be, we can always look back at 2013 as a year when we were given the opportunity to rise above our own personal agenda and be generous to our neighbors,” he said.

Among the projects that City Hall will undertake, Rama said, is to rebuild the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC). The 7.2-magnitude earthquake last October 15 damaged the facility so severely that City Hall had to vacate and demolish it.

Hospital, BRT

Rama thanked the council for approving an initial amount of P300 million for a new hospital.

He, however, is asking them to approve millions more for the project, estimated to cost P1.5 billion.

Aside from rebuilding the CCMC, Rama said the City will implement the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, including consultations with stakeholders who will be affected by it.

The BRT is a P10.6-billion project that will be funded through a loan by the National Government. It will run from Barangay Bulacao to Barangay Talamban.

Another project that the mayor seeks to undertake is the upgrading of the city’s traffic system, which is estimated to cost P800 million.

He said there is a need to upgrade the system because of the two international events that the city will be hosting: the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015 and the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016.

“These are two of the many best things that will happen to Cebu City and we need to be ready and pro-active on this,” he said.

SRP prospects

For the South Road Properties (SRP), Rama said there is a need to use fully its economic potential.

He said there are already several developments that are being proposed in the area, like the Japanese retirement facility, a development on Kawit Island by a Middle East real-estate developer and a commercial township development on the site of the San Pedro Calungsod templete.

He also said there is a need to bail out the City from the SRP loan, saying it still stands at P3 billion even after more than 10 years of payments.

Rama is asking the legislative body to support him in these matters.

Sought for comment, Councilor Margarita Osmeña, the council’s majority floor leader, said that they never blocked the mayor in his plans for the SRP, particularly in selling it.

She said, though, that proposals should be submitted to them so the council can take a look at it.

As for the additional budget for the rebuilding of CCMC, Osmeña said the executive department should look for money first.

STATE OF THE CITY.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (10th from left) poses with the Cebu City Council before delivering his State of the City Address. With him are (from left) Gerardo Carillo,Alvin Arcilla, Noel Wenceslao, Lea Japson, Nestor Archival, Dave Tumulak, Eugenio Gabuya, Edgardo Labella, Mary Ann de los Santos, Hanz Abella, Margarita Osmeña, James Cuenco, Roberto Cabarrubias, Alvin Dizon, Sisinio Andales, Nida Cabrera, Richard Osmeña and Philip Zafra. (Sun.Star photo/Allan Defensor)


Housing

Also, she said the executive department should use first the initial P300 million that has been set aside, before another budget will be approved for it.

Osmeña said the council is supportive of the project.

Other projects that the mayor seeks to implement are the building of homes for the City’s employees; apportioning land for the landless; a children’s park at the site of the old Pasil Fish Market; a Magellan’s Park beside the Senior Citizens’ Park; the provision of emergency exits in all public schools, and the transfer of Sapangdaku Elementary School and Busay Elementary School to safer sites to keep pupils away from floods and landslides, respectively.

The mayor also wants to complete all farm-to-market roads; beautify S. Osmeña; clean the rivers, creeks and coastline; restore and recover all sidewalks by freeing them from obstructions; and address traffic congestion and road safety by establishing U-Turn slots, constructing flares at intersections, widening roads and establishing a no-left-turn policy.

The mayor added he wants to implement urban greening and edible landscaping; transform roads in Carbon Market into a night market area; and allocate funds for police cars.

Mantra

Moreover, Rama said he wants to continue the City’s efforts to resolve the 93-1 issue, witness the realization of the third Mactan Bridge from Cebu City to Cordova, and support the Mega Cebu 2050 project. (The 93-1 issue refers to the socialized housing ordinance that allowed city residents to acquire the Province-owned lots they have been occupying.)

“In the previous term, 2010 to 2013, a lot of things have been accomplished. I believe that with our mantra of ‘Together we can make better things happen for Cebu City’, we are very certain that we can still do a lot more,” Rama said.

As for his accomplishments, Rama reported that his administration implemented P250 million worth of drainage projects covering 7,000 linear meters of drainage lines.

He also said that they implemented P183 million worth of asphalting project that covered 40,665 lineal meters of road and P265.72 million worth of concreting projects, covering 33.215 lineal meters of road.

As for tax collection, Rama said the City Treasurer’s Office continues to embark on an aggressive tax collection As of June 30 this year, he added, the City’s cash in bank was P1.7 billion. (Sun.Star Cebu)

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

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