SOCA-A A +A
Saturday, July 7, 2012
STATE of the City” means just that and an address about it should give a clear picture of where the City stands in relation to its priority needs and problems. Accordingly, what Mayor Michael Rama delivered last Monday was not a State of the City Address (SOCA) at all. Call it by any other name except SOCA because neither in part nor in whole did the address provide us with a good appreciation of the present state of Cebu City.
Firstly, the accomplishments listed are peripheral and secondary to the state of the city. On the contrary, some of the promised projects were of heavier more relevant stuff and hence closer to the heart of the city’s problems. But then, a promise is a promise and has no place in an address about “state” or situation. Talk, after all, is cheap and better suited for campaign speeches. But then maybe that’s what it was, a campaign speech.
Secondly, both random accomplishments listed and projects promised did not show any rhyme or reason. No pattern is discernible that could at least hint of a hidden, like unwritten, strategic substance and purpose. Most were pure knee-jerk reactions to negative situations relative to seniors, indigents and the environment.
The state of the city should be defined by the degree its priority needs (jobs, housing, health and education?) have been met and its priority problems (criminality, flooding, etc?) solved through the volume and quality of soft and hard infrastructures that have been put in place. Street beautification is okay and so are financial aid to seniors and medical aid to indigents. But these are peripheral to the city’s basic needs and problems. Besides, these are dole-outs that again smack of voters’ incentives for the coming elections.
Nevertheless, I readily agree and sympathize with Mayor Rama on his criticism of Congressman Tomas Osmeña’s continued control of the City Council and the former mayor’s arrogant ways of doing things his way only. My criticism, therefore, of Mayor Rama’s SOCA cannot be taken as an endorsement of Congressman Osmeña’s narcissistic style of governance.
All I am saying is that it is not enough for Mayor Rama to criticize the obstructionist ways of Osmeña and the council. Neither is it enough that he is not arrogant. Mayor Rama must make himself substantively better, through hard-nosed democratic governance focused on people’s priorities, than the organizationally and financially stronger former mayor.
Based on his SOCA, Mayor Rama is not substantively better. He needs to run for re-election on the wings of substantive and relevant accomplishments because deeds always trump promises. But as it is, he will be running on promises because his accomplishments so far lack substance and purpose.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 07, 2012.