CEBU

Malilong: Labella’s keeping score

The other side

IT PAID that he had a plan as early as during the election campaign. When Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella reported on his first 100 days in office last Wednesday, he had the 10-point agenda that he said he would pursue if elected as guide. Where was he on his campaign promises after a little over three months as mayor?

What cannot be measured cannot be managed and what cannot be managed cannot succeed, Bob Gothong always tells his leaders at Gothong Southern Shipping. Unfortunately, it is a lesson that is often lost on elected public officials. There are no timelines and no milestones and governing is like running a rudderless ship.

I am happy that Labella has broken out of the mold by keeping a scorecard. He had 900-plus days left of his current term when he rendered the first of probably many more reports last Wednesday. It would be easier for him to see how far he has gone since on his programs and what adjustments to make by periodically looking at his scorecard. Let’s do it, mayor.

There was much to like about Labella’s report but I have three favorites: the promises of more jobs, improved traffic and the creation of a Cebu City College.

Labella said that two million jobs will be generated once the South Road Properties are fully developed. It was a prediction, bold perhaps, but definitely not a boast, because it is doable. I just hope that the last roadblocks to full development particularly of the areas sold by Mike Rama in 2015 have been permanently removed. It would be tragic if petty politics get in the way again.

Since it is impossible to completely eliminate the traffic problem, all that I ask is for it to be better than terrible. I noticed the mayor’s voice rise when he spoke about traffic. His voice softened when he addressed Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who was seated across the podium. A little more patience, he asked apologetically of the governor who, days earlier, had to get out of her car and walk to the Capitol because of the traffic.

As to the creation of a Cebu City College, Labella expressed confidence that one will rise soon at the Ramos public market. The Commission on Higher Education has already approved it and the city council is likely to pass the appropriate ordinance. They should because a city college is long overdue.

Labella’s report drew repeated applause from the near capacity crowd at the IEC convention hall. But the loudest one came when he spoke about the immediate measures he will undertake to address the traffic situation: Impose road discipline, run after abusive public utility drivers and employ more traffic personnel. The message was clear: We were all—and still are—traffic victims.

***

The Department of the Interior and Local Government tried where the departments of Agriculture and Trade and Industry already failed: convince Governor Garcia to lift the ban on the entry of pork, raw or processed, from other parts of the country, notably Luzon.

The governor’s reply was a polite but firm no, she will not put Cebu’s P11 billion hog industry in peril from the African swine fever epidemic. More pressure will come in the next few days, most of them orchestrated by businessmen affected by the ban, but I am confident that the governor will stand her ground and rightly so. If the national government wants the ban lifted, they should declare that the ASF danger is over. Thank you, Governor Gwen.


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