Councilors need to be level-headed-A A +A
Monday, July 23, 2012
THE Cebu City Council should be praised for listening to reason instead of acting impulsively on the veto by Mayor Michael Rama of the ordinance penalizing corporal and similar forms of punishment on children by their parents, among others.
In referring the ordinance to its committee on laws for further study, the city legislature avoided a collision with the mayor. It was a wise decision, given the unpopularity of the measure. The cost in goodwill among parents, most of whom are presumably Cebu City voters, would have been enormous for the Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), which dominates the council, had they not relented and listened to reason.
There is no doubt on the need to create a wholesome and nurturing environment under which children can grow up and develop. That they must be safeguarded from violence, regardless of its source, is also not debatable. But we can’t go overboard in defining violence to the point of robbing the parents of their natural right and duty to raise their children.
Discipline is an essential part of child-raising, and when you tell a parent he or she can’t even pinch his or her erring son or daughter ever so lightly without risking a jail term, then you have crossed the line.
Now that the ordinance is back to the committee on laws, I expect more thorough consultations with all sectors including and most especially the parents. The ordinance may yet pass without raising the howl of protests that greeted it at the first instance and when it does, the councilors should pat themselves in the back for a job well done.
I hope they will exhibit the same prudence and level-headedness in dealing with what looks like a sure veto by Rama of the ordinance banning any activity that would lead to the sale of the South Road Properties (SRP). But this requires character.
Much as I have tried to find a justification for the measure, there is just no escaping the fact that it has no reason for being. As Rama, using legalese, correctly
observed, it is a surplusage because there is already a national law on the matter.
The city council cannot pretend to be more powerful or more discerning than the Congress that passed the Local Government Code.
The council could just have passed a resolution expressing the collective sense of the legislative body that no part of the SRP should be sold until Filinvest and SM have fully developed the areas that they purchased or until Rama is replaced, whichever comes first. That would have conveyed exactly the same message that the ordinance intended without the council ridiculously restating an existing national law.
If the ordinance was intended to annoy Rama, it succeeded. If it was to embarrass the mayor, it failed because the councilors ended up embarrassing themselves. The claim by one of them that the ordinance also prohibited sales by public auction while the LGC did not only further exposed their ignorance of the law. Do they really think that the city can limit through an ordinance the properties that can be sold to satisfy a judgment debt?
I will have to agree with observers that politics was the motive behind the ordinance. But while the BOPK has the numbers, it cannot just flex its muscles for flexing’s sake. They should consider our people’s natural tendency to side with the underdog. If they continue to unnecessarily make life difficult for Rama, they may just succeed in making a martyr out of him.
And he might just spring a surprise by scoring a giant upset.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 24, 2012.