Rama and his acronyms

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Thursday, February 6, 2014


THE mayor loves acronyms and initials. They serve as his mnemonics to help him remember his programs and plans of action. It's his orientation as human resources practitioner back when he wasn't a public servant yet.

Besides, time has caught up with the goodlooking Michael Rama, mayor of Cebu City. He needs cues, more so now that he has a multitude of concerns to attend to, including meeting with news managers every so often.

On his first meeting with the news managers at Casino Español right after he assumed his second term as mayor, he gave a Powerpoint presentation on how he can make things happen.

Slide after slide of acronyms flashed before us. The acronyms allowed for brevity, which is a quality we cannot attribute to the mayor's speech.

And so we had to "SEE D BIG 3P." Social services, Environment, Education, Development, Business, Infrastructure, Governance, Public Affairs, People, Place.

We learned that his mission "to bring back the hope of the youth and children to trust government" is anchored on QQSSTA: Quick, Quality, Super, Service, Transparency, Accountability.

At the close of his 45-minute presentation, we were hungry.

The second meeting was at the Rizal Public Library a few months later. He gave updates on his governance of the city. He pulled out from his wallet a dog-eared laminated card that contains a checklist of day-to-day concerns. He said he would go over the checklist every now and then. I took pictures of the checklist.

The checklist has 73 items that include venue, alternative venue, physical arrangement, Philippine flag, Eruf, forms, food, shadow Cabinet, punctuality, oath of office, peace and order, chairs, CR, generator, arbitration, communication, transportation, hotel monitoring, white board, name tags, hipos committee, rally permit, water, protection of Fuente, water dispenser, parking tickets, recoreda, helicopter, ropes, island promotions, traffic, Leigh.

On his third meeting with the news managers last Tuesday, this time at the social hall of City Hall, he kept his talk and answers not so very long. Twice he checked his
watch.

He kept repeating BBB and PPDG when he answered questions on how he plans to go about carrying out his programs. BBB for Barangayan, Bayanihan and Boluntarismo. PPDG for People Privately Driven Governance.

And then the moment I waited for came. No, he did not sing.

The mayor has this penchant for letting listeners he works closely with to finish he sentences for him. These are lines that guide him and his administration on how to carry out public service.

Since the meeting was held at City Hall, most of the department heads were present. To his credit, the mayor acknowledges the help of the department heads in his governance.

Like a drill sergeant, the mayor began and the department heads took their cues.
Mayor: Tul-iron ang...
Department heads: Hiwi!
Mayor: Nindoton ang...
Department heads: Bati!
Mayor: Wagtangon ang...
Department heads: Baho!
Mayor: Limpiyohon ang...
Department heads: Hugaw!
Mayor: Han-ayon ang...
Department heads: Gubot!

Straighten out the crooked. Beautify the ugly. Get rid of the smelly. Clean up the dirty. Remove the clutter.

Over lunch I asked the mayor if he had them memorize the lines. He said yes so they would know what to do when faced with crookedness, ugliness, foul, dirt and clutter.

Heading back to the office, the LMRL hit me. Last Michael Rama Lines. Tul-iron ang... hiwi! Nindoton ang... bati!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 06, 2014.

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