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Saturday, August 24, 2013
ON our way to the office in the pier last Wednesday, I saw a young woman struggle with a man for possession of her bag inside a jeepney that was waiting for the intersection to clear. Two male co-passengers attempted to intervene but a companion of the robber pulled out a gun. Scared, the girl let go of her bag. The criminals then casually walked away from the scene.
Later in the evening of that day while on our way home from TV5, I caught sight of a taxi driver chasing away three young boys from his cab. The taxi had figured in an accident and the poor driver had gone down to talk to the driver of the other vehicle but as soon as he did, the boys went inside apparently to steal his day’s earnings.
That was the first time I was an eyewitness to two separate crimes on the same day but I am not saying that criminality is on the upsurge in this city. However, Cebu City Police Chief Noli Romana has to show results soon and justify the trust of Mayor Mike Rama, who fought long and hard to have him appointed.
The same burden awaits another city official whose appointment Rama had just secured, also after a long struggle. When Diwa Cuevas reports to City Hall on Monday as the new city treasurer, she has to hit the ground running and never stop until the city’s finances are put in order.
A report in the Freeman early last week said that the city government has not been able to meet its obligations, including the payment for the loan that financed the south reclamation project. There are also reports that senior citizens have not received their cash gifts because of the cash shortage besetting the city.
The Freeman quoted Rama as saying that the city’s financial woes would end once the city council authorizes him to sell the SRP. I understand the mayor’s frustration over the council’s refusal to let him even negotiate with potential buyers. I would go even farther by saying that the city ordinance that handcuffed the mayor vis a vis the SRP is the strangest piece of legislation I have ever come across and that I look forward to the day when the Courts will declare it not only invalid but stupid.
But one who seeks cooperation should also be able to offer it. He with a dagger in his hand has no right to expect an olive branch from another. We have said it before and we are saying it now: if someone has to take the first step to mend relations at City Hall, it should be Rama. He just won a second term, he can afford to be humble and forgiving. Besides, he is the mayor.
Twice, the council invited Rama’s finance people to appear before them and twice the mayor ordered them not to go. Why? If he was worried that his men would be abused by the councilors, he should have trusted the people’s capacity to rise in righteous indignation and chastise the bullies.
Let’s hope that Cuevas is of sterner stuff, that she is possessed with the courage of the innocent and will not hide behind the mayor but gladly appear before the councilors to give them her take on the city’s financial burdens as well as her program of action. Who knows if the council will respond in kind and rise above their personal bias to give the mayor the authority that he claims he deserves but has not actively sought?
Much has been written, in the aftermath of the collision off the Talisay coast, of Sulpicio Lines’ checkered past. But the two-year-old 2Go’s record is not exactly immaculate. Two months ago, the M/V Gregory the Great nearly sank while navigating the Siete Pecados islets in Iloilo straits. She was able to sail on her own power, however, and dock at the nearby Arrastre Port.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 25, 2013.