Nalzaro: Reviving Capitol media for political purposes?


GOV. Gwen Garcia plans to revive the operation of the Sugbo TV channel on cable, saying it is a very important tool in promoting Cebu to both local and foreign tourists. She said Capitol will put up a studio and revive the shows that featured the province’s rich culture and history and tourist spots and bring these to a wider audience.

Sugbo TV channel, which was manned by the Public Information Office (PIO) during Garcia’s time, was the first to be shut down by then vice governor Agnes Magpale when Gwen was booted out from the Capitol following her suspension by the Ombudsman.

Aside from Sugbo TV, Garcia’s administration also came up with Sugbo Magazine, a monthly publication, and radio block-time programs in various radio stations.

I have nothing against the Provincial Government putting up a public relations machinery, but I have reservations and I am apprehensive that it might be used for personal and political purposes by the powers that be. Most of the shows on Sugbo TV then only focused on and featured the personal activities of Gwen and not the programs of the Province. Then, most of the shows were replayed. Kinsa may ganahan motan-aw ana kon sige lang balik-balik ang mga shows?

In Sugbo Magazine, there was one issue where Gwen’s picture appeared 67 times. I remember counting with fellow SunStar Cebu columnists lawyers Cheking Seares and Eddie Barrita. Dili ta sum-ulan mobasa ana.

In her radio block-time programs, the program handlers did not discuss her programs and accomplishments but instead attacked Gwen’s political opponents and even members of the legitimate mainstream media who criticized Gwen. I was one of those attacked by the Capitol’s paid hacks upon the order of then PIO chief, a certain Sam Costanilla, when I sometimes criticized Gwen. Okey man na ba basta ang mga kaayuhan sa lalawigan ang i-balita dili lang i-focus sa personalidad.


Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama reacted to my column last Wednesday, July 3, 2019, entitled “Rama should focus on his primary duties.”

He called me up when the column came out and explained why he is chairing four committees at the City Council. He said actually he will only chair three committees because the committee on environment and natural resources is reserved for Councilor Joel Garganera once the latter assumes office.

Garganera is set to replace Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan Councilor Sisinio “Bebs” Andales once the latter is disqualified. The Commission Elections (Comelec) en banc has already ruled with finality on his disqualification. A writ of execution will be served soon and Garganera can take over Andales’ place.

The other committees that Rama chairs are the committee on health, hospital services and sanitation; the committee on tourism, culture and arts; and the committee on sister-cities relations and big brother program.

Rama said he asked his colleagues if he could personally chair these committees since these were very important to him. He said he wanted to concentrate on the ongoing construction of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC). He said he wanted the CCMC to be finished at a specific time so it could operate and start serving the Cebuanos.

The city will also host the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the country in 2021 and this is a big challenge for Cebu as far as preparations are concerned, Rama said. That’s why he decided to chair the committee on tourism, cultural and arts, where the Cebu City Historical Affairs Commission (Chac) belongs.

Tying up with other countries and big corporations (as big brothers) is also very important. He pointed out that there are numerous projects being implemented in the city as “products” of our sister-cities relationship and tieups with big companies and corporations. He mentioned the third bridge as one of the “fruits” of the city’s tieup with private businessmen and companies, who are willing to invest in Cebu. That is also the reason he chairs the committee on sister-cities relations and big brother program.

I asked him, “Can you effectively do it with so many tasks?” He said, “It’s just a matter of time management.” Ah well, let’s see the “scattered” if he can do it (makitang katag ug makahimo ba siya). Let’s also observe if he has no hidden personal and political agenda on why he is chairing these committees.

I might be too presumptuous but I suspect he wants to project himself as hardworking to impress the public because of his desire to regain the mayorship. Abangan!


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