Editorial: Change in approach-A A +A
Thursday, July 3, 2014
THIS has been observable in the past few months, the change in demeanor of Cebu City councilors identified with the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK). While last year they were eager to assert their dominance in the legislative body and were issuing statements critical of Mayor Michael Rama’s moves, this year they are calm, or okay, “cool.”
Even the party chief, former mayor Tomas Osmeña, has become selective in his criticisms of Rama’s official acts. There seems to be an understanding that being overly critical of and blocking the mayor’s every move didn’t make them look good to the city’s electorate.
The decision of the BOPK majority to give all the five councilors identified with Team Rama committee roles can thus be considered as consistent with this shift in demeanor. Last year, Councilors Mary Ann de los Santos and Dave Tumulak weren’t given committee roles.
“Now, after a year, I think we have shown that we can work together, although we do not agree all the time, but we can work together. We have learned to adjust and respect each other,” Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña, the majority floor leader, said.
Although Osmeña didn’t use Team Rama’s “together we can make things happen” mantra, she admitted that the giving of committee roles to minority councilors is already a step forward.
This is a welcome development considering the many Rama initiatives that need the support of the city council. But this is not yet the true test of the willingness of the BOPK councilors to support the mayor’s worthwhile projects.
The true test is when the mayor’s plans for the South Road Properties (SRP) will find their way to the city council. Note that the former mayor still considers the SRP his “baby.” The most contentious of these plans would be Rama’s push to sell some SRP lots.
Margot has reiterated that the BOPK majority won’t block any sale of SRP lots, but they need to scrutinize the proposal. This means that the ball is now in Rama’s hands, especially because talks about firms buying SRP lots have been spread around but not one of these has been formalized.
Will the change in demeanor of the BOPK councilors hold?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2014.