City isn’t bankrupt

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Friday, December 20, 2013


IF WE believe citizen Tomas Osmeña, Cebu City Hall will already experience “financial drought” or go bankrupt next year. Tomas made this forecast during a gathering of barangay officials last Tuesday.

He accused Mayor Mike Rama of fiscal mismanagement for failing to collect advance payments from SM Prime Holdings and the city's share from the joint venture between the city and Filinvest Land Inc., for the condominium development at the South Road Properties (SRP).

I think Tomas should shut up because what he talked about is not true. I don't think City Hall will go bankrupt.

If the city is on the verge of bankruptcy, then the Rama administration could not give the calamity assistance of P20,000 each to its more than 4,000 employees, a proposal that was not even opposed by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK)-dominated City Council.

If City Hall is on the verge of bankruptcy, why did the city council approve Supplemental Budget 3 that was submitted to it by the executive department? Tomas’s wife, Margot, is the chairperson of the committee on budget and finance and I understand she knows the financial status of the city government.

The day after Tomas said this, Filinvest and City Hall came up with a full page advertisement in the local newspapers saying that Filinvest has not been remiss with its obligations to the city under the joint venture agreement and has made an assurance of its firm commitment to comply with the agreement.

Filinvest said that the company has already paid the city P1.42 billion for the purchase of certain lots in SRP and remitted P159 million as the city's share in the sales proceeds and as part payment for the minimum return for the first phase of the project.

This joint statement came after City Hall threatened to go to court if Filinvest won’t settle its obligation. Rama went to Manila and had a dialogue with Filinvest officials on the issue. I understand this is the product of that dialogue.

So who are we going to believe, Tomas or this joint statement? Tomas was mistaken in his forecast. The next time, he should think of the repercussions of his statement before he opens his mouth.

But why is he doing this? Because he wants to paint a bad image for the Rama administration and to announce to the whole world that he is still a force to reckon
with?

Tomas no longer has credibility. He is a political has-been. If I were Mike, I will no longer answer his accusations.

The results of the recently concluded Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) elections where Team Rama-supported candidates got a landslide victory is already a manifestation that Tomas political clout is waning. He no longer has control of his people.

He will make a political comeback in 2016? Let's see the scattered (Makita ang katag).

***

Mayor Rama should not be worried about the BOPK-dominated city council slashing his proposed budget for next year. The council, upon the recommendation of the committee of budget and finance headed by Margot Osmeña, only approved P5.9 billion of the P10.5 billion the executive department proposed. Almost half of the amount was slashed.

The public, though, already knows that passing the budget is not within the mayor’s control. He can easily wash his hands when he fails to deliver basic services to the Cebuanos. If we experience flooding during rainy season because the city failed to address the drainage problem, then blame the council for it.

Included in Mike’s program is the comprehensive drainage master plan to be financed from the sale of SRP lots. But the council, upon the dictate of Tomas, passed an ordinance that handcuffed Mike hands on the matter of selling SRP lots.

The city council is making Mike's administration miserable because of the budget cut.

But the more it does this, the more will the Cebuanos sympathize with the mayor.

This happened in the first term of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes. The council was dominated by Ouano supporters headed by Vice Mayor Carlo Pontico Fortuna. The council also made Cortes life miserable through the budget. But look at what happened in the following election. Almost all opposition councilors including Fortuna were wiped out.

Lisod na kun ang katawhan na ang mohusgar. Tan-awa ra sa sunod eleksiyon.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 21, 2013.

Opinion

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