Editorial: Time for mayor to show up

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Friday, December 13, 2013

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama had some colorful words for the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK)-dominated City Council after it became apparent that his proposed P10.5-billion budget for next year would be cut by almost one half: “Ipa-usap na nila.”

That best summed up the dismay of the mayor over what has become a pattern since he bolted from the BOPK after winning his first term of office in 2010 and then defeating BOPK chief Tomas Osmeña in the 2013 elections. The mayor proposes, the BOPK councilors slash.

But Rama is in his second term as mayor so his dismay must not have been that intense already. When something already expected happens, the frustration over its happening is lessened.

What must have dismayed the mayor more is the reality that he could not change the outcome of the budgetary process and that Osmeña and the BOPK councilors have been successful in hampering the pursuit of his plans for the city.

The BOPK councilors’ goal has been consistent: deprive the Rama administration of its ability to generate revenues and use the lack of money to fund the budget proposal as argument to slash it.

With only a limited budget to implement projects, Rama can then be vulnerable to accusations of incompetence.

But the mayor himself is giving fodder to the scheme. He has been talking about selling some of the city’s properties to partly fund his budgetary proposals but has not made significant moves to realize it. It has remained in the realm of talk.

And he has to show that he can be a good generator of revenues even if he could not sell the city’s properties. He can, for example, take the wind out of the BOPK councilors’ sails, sort of, by showing he can generate funds for his projects by partnering with the private sector.

Finally, even as he continues to fight for a bigger annual budget, he should make do with what little the city council is giving him by ensuring that important concerns would still be provided with funds. The days of spending for, say, the purchase of cars for officials is over.

What he should understand is that the public already knows what the BOPK councilors are up to. It’s now his turn to show the public what he can be capable of even without the cooperation of the BOPK councilors.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 13, 2013.


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