Editorial: Cebu City’s ‘blame game’

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Thursday, September 4, 2014


RAIN fell again in Cebu City yesterday, though the volume of the water dumped was not as huge as the one that caused widespread flooding in Metro Cebu last week. Still, some flood-prone areas had pools of water surfacing for a time.

The other day, the Cebu City Council authorized Mayor Michael Rama to sign contracts with different contractors for drainage projects worth P15 million, but not before some councilors aligned with the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK)expressed their misgivings over the tendency to pin the blame for the delay in the implementation of drainage projects to the city council.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairperson of the body’s committee on budget and finance, even delivered a privilege speech on the matter. “If there is a single issue that we all undoubtedly agree on, it is that we must address the drainage problem. Playing the blame game will certainly not help.”

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She has a point there, although a “blame game” always surfaces when factional strife characterizes the laying down of policies by a local government unit. In this case, that factional strife emanates from the setup wherein the mayor belongs to a party different from the one that dominates the city council (this doesn’t factor in the fact that the BOPK has splintered and is no longer as dominant in the council as before).

In this setting, the public finds it difficult to differentiate fiscalizing from politicking, or even obstructionism, by the council.

But Osmeña was right. There have been many instances when department heads and other officials under the mayor’s office wilted upon deeper questioning by city councilors, notably those allied with the BOPK. That signifies lack of preparation or sloppiness in preparation of data and documents, even incompetence.

Still, there is the matter of people considering motive in the hurling of questions.

Was the questioning by the council well intentioned or was it meant to use the shortcomings of the executive to derail some of its projects for political ends?

The current change in the makeup of the council and the seeming mellowing of some councilors may lessen instances of the executive and the legislative engaging in a blame game, though. There would be fewer questions on the councilors’ political intentions and more on the bungling ways, if there are any, of the mayor and his underlings.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 05, 2014.

Opinion

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