Mayor didn’t sing

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Monday, March 31, 2014


THE first time I attended a meeting with Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, he didn't sing.

His office was adorned with old photographs of Spanish mestizos. A picture of a strikingly, beautiful lady in black and white caught my attention.

The mayor talked about his childhood dreams and growing up in a large family. The picture got stuck in my head, and I thought of having one for my mother someday.

Then he asked me about my dream. What? I stared at him blankly. I was waiting for him to sing, which the papers often reported, and not ask me about a forgotten dream.

He got me thinking that night, but I'd keep my dreams to myself. Now I'm starting to admire this mayor's childlike enthusiasm for public service.

To be fair, I've heard Tom O. was a good one too. But I had no personal encounter with the man.

Recently, I joined an emergency meeting for the Barangay Lorega fire victims. The mayor arrived at about 11 a.m. still in sweat from a field inspection. After praying, he got right into business by talking about "empathy."

While he was talking, his secretary entered the room with a new shirt. He told us to look at the white board in front while he was changing at the back. He was that busy.

After acknowledging everyone, he talked about crisis management, temporary relocation sites, food distribution, financial assistance.

This time, he didn't ask me about my dream. But smiling, he said my haircut, a weird mohawk, looked like the headgear of a Roman centurion.

Turning serious, he said we have to help the fire victims, and no one who claims ownership over the land shall displace them during this calamity. They've suffered
enough. And we in public service shall not be afraid to take the cudgels for them.

The mayor said it as if he were angry. His eyes were sincere and full of conviction.

When the meeting ended at 1:30 p.m., I was hungry. Another meeting was set for Sunday morning.

One night, I thought about what makes a good leader. In politics, you always have your critics. So to make a name, you need two things: balls and words. You need words to rally your men and balls to risk your neck to get things done.
For the mayor, you also need compassion.--By Bernard Inocentes S. Garcia

Water rate, real estate tax hikes

The Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) has anoounced that a 12 percent increase in water rates shall take effect on July 1, 2014. MCWD claims there is no longer any need for a public hearing because such was already satisfied in 2005, or nine years ago.

However, Cebu City Councilor Gerardo Carillo has filed a resolution in the city council calling on MCWD to conduct a new public hearing. The Cebuano water consumers support Carillo’s call.

MCWD said that the main reason for the rate increase is that the buying price by Cebu Bulk Water Supply is P24.59 as against the P13.60 per cubic meter the consumer using not more than 10 cu.m. pays.

The comparison is misleading because the P13.60 rate should not have been used but rather the average cubic meters of water consumed in 2013 and the equivalent total water fee.

The comparison between P24.50 and P13.60 naturally produces a big difference to justify the rates hike. But the P24.50 buying price is applicable to all water consumers, big and small.

As for the Cebu City Government increasing its real estate taxes, it should be done as a last resort. Other means that would also generate revenues should first be resorted to.--Bernardo V. Peralta, CPA

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 01, 2014.

Opinion

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