THE Cebu City project called “Basura Mo, Sardinas Ko,” which was conceptualized by Mayor Tomas Osmeña, borders on bribery. The City should have enforced to the letter environmental laws and its anti-littering ordinance instead of doing a project that may not be in keeping with President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against corruption.

The project’s pilot area is Sitio Sudlon, Barangay Lahug. There the City gave out sardines to households in exchange for their trash. This is supposedly to encourage them to be responsible in garbage disposal.

The City is treating with kid gloves those who violate environmental laws and its anti-littering ordinance. These laws should be enforced and not twisted or suspended for some dubious intention.

I consider Mayor Tomas to be a rule-follower. But in embarking on this project, he cannot avoid criticism that he is “politicking” this early. Consider that the next elections are two years away.

John Paul Gelasque, assistant head of the Department of Public Services (DPS), said funds for the project are taken from the accelerated social amelioration program (Asap). If the project is successful in Lahug, this will be implemented in other barangays.

Because of the lackluster implementation of even the most comprehensive laws that protect our environment, most residents, particularly in slum areas, still do not obey or observe them.

Mayor Tom, strictly enforcing the environmental laws and the city’s anti-littering ordinance will not cost the city anything unlike the giving of sardines that will only spoil the residents. Funds for the project are better spent in repairing the city’s bad roads.

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The implementation of the Ombudsman’s suspension order for Barangay Ermita officials has resulted in a hiatus because the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) did it without appointing their replacement.

Mayor Osmeña threatened to take over if nothing happens there. Legally, I doubt if he can do so because the authority to appoint the replacement is with DILG and the vacancy is temporary.

The anti-graft office suspended the said barangay officials based on the complaint filed by the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA). They were accused of not cooperating in the drive against illegal drugs in their barangay.

That politics is behind this is apparent. Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino was not spared. Mayor Tomas called him names and accused him of endorsing to Malacañang the replacement of Ermita officials.

Dino denied Osmeña’s allegation. He said he did not recommend anyone. There are other pressing matters that President Duterte wants him done not only in Cebu but for the entire Visayas, he said.

PAV Dino believes that Barangay Ermita has not run out of good people, like professionals and businessmen, who can better run the barangay. He said politicians should keep away from Ermita’s issue and let the DILG handle it.

I agree. The DILG can better handle Ermita than Mayor Tomas. This would also disabuse the minds of his critics and those who suspect that Mayor Tomas was behind the suspension.