Editorial: A discordant Cebu City Hall-A A +A
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
BY TURNS folksy and fact-driven, Mayor Michael Rama’s State of the City Address last Monday mostly succeeded as a piece of political theater.
It could have been shorter and better-organized, yes, but it had its moments of humor and acidity. It was definitely not the kind of speech the mayor’s probable rival in 2013, Rep. Tomas Osmeña, would have delivered. So if the mayor’s intention was to differentiate himself from his former ally, he succeeded.
When Rama questioned his critics who have “a masteral in panaway and a doctorate in pangaway,” the crowd at Plaza Sugbu approved. Listeners elsewhere who have grown tired of the bickering among Cebu City’s highest public officials would probably have applauded, too.
Unfortunately for Rama, his third State of the City Address was also more than a tad unrealistic.
Nearly all of the pledges the mayor announced will require purse strings loosened by a City Council dominated by Osmeña’s allies.
An increase of P3,000 in the City’s aid to each senior citizen next year? The sale of more portions of the South Road Properties? A drainage master plan (at last) and ambitious projects like a circumferential road linking Barangay Kalunasan to Consolacion town? All worthy ideas.
Can he get the council to agree?
To be fair, the council has not entirely been an obstructionist in the two-year-old Rama administration. The mayor likes to criticize the council for approving a budget of only P5.2 billion for 2012, instead of the over P10-billion budget the executive department proposed. He glosses over the fact that it was still larger than the P3.5-billion “lean and mean” budget he proposed (and got) for 2011.
The test for Rama, as he heads for what’s shaping up to be a hard reelection campaign, is whether he can deliver his promises given a council that will keep him on a tight leash. He won’t have the luxury of “a political budget” similar to the P600-billion supplemental budget in early 2010 that Osmeña’s allies in the council had then approved.
How, then, will the mayor deliver?
Perhaps he can take one of the most popular lessons in the American bestseller “God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours.” Author Regina Brett advises, “Over-prepare, then go with the flow.”
She never had to run for office, though.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2012.