Are we doomed?-A A +A
Friday, October 4, 2013
THE invitation letter that Mayor Michael Rama sent to his “Meet the Media Leaders” activity at the Sinulog Hall of the Cebu City Rizal Memorial Library yesterday morning talked about him being on the threshold of his second term’s first 100 days in office.
But I missed his opening statement having arrived some 20 minutes late, so I didn’t know if he came up with a summation of what he has achieved on the get-go after defeating former mayor Tomas Osmeña, his former political patron, in the May 13 elections.
I reckon the affair wasn’t purely to advertise his administration, though. As his letter said: “(W)e submit ourselves to your scrutiny in the spirit of transparency, with the hope that we all have a better appreciation of the issues and
concerns—whether these are current, foreseen or in the past that can have a bearing today and tomorrow.”
The mayor went to the gathering with some department heads, his consultant and former city councilor Joey Daluz and Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Chief Noli Romana in tow. But like in the other similar activities with the media that he called, Rama did the talking himself.
As expected, questioning by editors and opinion makers touched various concerns, including the distribution of incentives to senior citizens, the city’s flooding woes, garbage disposal, installation of closed circuit television cameras, and investors and water concerns.
It’s good that the mayor is trying to learn the value of being concise. He has shortened the speeches and his answers to questions. That means he is less circuitous—although a bit circuitous still. The danger in trying to shorten speeches and answers, however, is losing substance.
One thing you can’t fault the mayor is his knowledge of issues. He is everywhere.
Hours after the media gathering, he was already in the middle of things in yesterday afternoon’s Game 5 finals game between the Southwestern University Cobras and University of the Visayas Green Lancers. The game was almost cancelled because of problematic shot clock.
Yet in the media gathering, Rama was obviously stumped by the question hurled at him by veteran journalist Juan Mercado. He could not give us an update on the progress of the Carmen bulk water project and the extent of the intrusion of salt water into the
But I’m glad Sir Johnny brought up water, the issue close to his heart, because it prompted the mayor to promise to meet Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) people and have them update him on the water situation in Cebu. He has been reminded that water is an important city concern, too.
Flooding? I was not surprised by his knowledge of the issue. My worry has always been if the city’s effort to mitigate its effects has not been up to par with the need. The mayor noted that Daluz, who is head of the city’s Reduction of Danger Zones (Redz) project, has been working hard to deliver on the promise to clear the waterways of obstruction.
But City Hall looks like Don Quixote battling the windmill on this one. The mayor did a litany, though partially, of the extent of the flooding problem and the obstructions that caused it in various areas of the city. He ended the litany with a warning that the threat is real and that he is praying that next storm or major downpour won’t hit
the city--and not at night or at dawn when the people are asleep.
Yet the Cebu City Council dominated by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) seems to see flooding as less of a problem than allowing Rama to get funds for the purpose and gain political advantage from it. I say that unless the BOPK councilors see the urgency in solving the problem, Cebu City residents are doomed.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 04, 2013.