New roles signal thaw in council, better relations

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Thursday, July 3, 2014


THE Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK)-dominated Cebu City Council has decided to give all the five allies of Mayor Michael Rama committee roles.

This, the minority bloc believes, signifies an improvement in the working relationship in the council despite their political affiliations.

The new composition of the 24 standing committees of the legislative body was announced by the majority floor leader, Councilor Margarita Osmeña, during their inaugural session yesterday.

The minority bloc is now represented in 12 committees, from only two last year.

Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos, who is the minority floor leader, is now a member of four committees. These are the committees on social services; laws, ordinances, public accountability and good governance; health, hospital services and sanitation; and cooperative and livelihood.

Councilor Dave Tumulak, the assistant minority floor leader, has been given three committee memberships. These are are in the committees on public order and safety; tourism, local and international relations, arts and culture; and information and communication technology.

After a year, a big difference

Both delos Santos and Tumulak were previously shut out from participating in any committees when the 13th Sangguniang Panlungsod started in July last year, just months after the May 2013 elections.

Councilor Philip Zafra received the chairmanship of the committee on barangay affairs, being the head of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC). He was elected barangay captain of Tisa in October and assumed office as ABC head in December last year.

As for Councilor James Cuenco, he still chairs the committee on tourism, local and international relations, arts and culture. But he was also made a member of the committee on markets.

Councilor Hanz Abella, on the other hand, retained his membership in the committee on education but has also been made a member of the committee on infrastructure and on games, amusement and sports.

In an interview after the session, Osmeña said the BOPK councilors decided to give committee roles to Team Rama members, particular delos Santos and Tumulak, because they are now “more comfortable” with them, unlike last year where they just came from an election campaign.

“Now, after a year, I think we have shown that we can work together, although not agree all the time, but we can work together. We have learned to adjust and respect each other. We realize that were not enemies. This (giving of membership) all came naturally,” she said.

Step forward

Asked why they did not give them committee chairmanships instead, Osmeña answered that delos Santos and Tumulak have not asked to lead any committees.

“But this is already a step forward,” she said.

Delos Santos, in a separate interview, welcomed the move.

“Last year, we were still getting to know each other and getting their trust and confidence. Now I guess, we have their trust and confidence and I am very appreciative and happy that this is now the working relationship of the council,” she said.

Tumulak said he did not expect to be given a chance to participate in any council committees.

“This a good sign of the improvement of the council’s working relationship and (that) they trust us enough to perform our duties,” he added.

In his message during the mass that preceded the mayor’s State of the City Address, Msgr. Roberto Alesna reminded the City’s officials to make the needs of their constituents their priority.

He also encouraged them to treat people fairly and justly, put public above private interests and rely on divine guidance.

The mass was held at the Plaza Sugbo grounds in front of the Cebu City Hall. With Zash del Pilar, USJ-R Mass Com Intern

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

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