IF PLANS won’t miscarry, House veteran and Cebu City North District Rep. Raul del Mar will assume the position as deputy speaker for the Visayas when Congress resumes its session today under the leadership of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco. Del Mar supported Velasco’s bid for the Speakership when there was a squabble between the latter and former House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano.
Velasco is expected to implement re-organization in the chairmanship of various standing committees. Del Mar will replace Cebu Third District Rep. Pablo John Garcia, a known ally of Cayetano.
Del Mar held the same position in 2004 to 2010 under former House Speaker Jose de Venecia during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He has been a congressman of the district since 1987 and never lost in an election. When his first term expired in 1998, he was succeeded by his son, Dr. Raoul “Ranny” del Mar for one term. He ran and won again and served a three-year term. When his term expired, he was succeeded by daughter Rachel “Cutie” del Mar for one term. In the 2013, 2016 and 2019 elections, he ran and won again and held the position until today. His term will expire in 2022. Perhaps, Cutie will again succeed him.
Del Mar, a lawyer, is a member of the local political aggrupation, Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), an affiliate of the Liberal Party (LP). During his stints, he brought and introduced developments like infrastructures in his district. He built flyovers, which helped ease traffic congestion in the city intersections. He provided free medical services to his district’s constituents through his “Del Mar Medical card” program and constructed extension buildings at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. His medical assistance was even extended to members of the Cebu media through Cebu Media Medical Aid program.
He was once a member of the powerful Commission on Appointment (CA). Just recently, in view of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, he sponsored three poverty alleviation bills to ease the economic burden of the underprivileged sectors of our society. He filed House Bill 7899, which seeks to institutionalize the Social Amelioration Program by regularly releasing it in four quarterly tranches each year. His House Bill 7900 aims to save families from severe hunger, while House Bill 7901 seeks to prevent the stunting of children and to make every Filipino child healthier, brighter and taller.
Congratulations, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella defused public apprehension that the city will be placed in another lockdown if Covid-19 cases increase. This is in view of the pronouncement of City Councilor Joel Garganera, who also heads the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Garganera said the city might be placed on total lockdown again like what we experienced sometime last March up to June if Covid-19 cases will continue to rise.
In a private conversation last Saturday with this columnist during a private affair with members of the Walk and Talk Friendship Club, of which he is a member, Labella said he is not keen on ordering a citywide lockdown. If the need arises, the mayor said Cebu City will enforce a granular lockdown, but only after consultation with health and law enforcement sectors. He even called the attention of EOC members to do less talk and more work.
The hizzoner said that he will implement stricter measures by imposing the quarantine pass requirement, border control and regulate the entry and movements of locally stranded individuals that only those Apors (authorized persons outside residence), workers with certificate of employment and those people doing essentials will be allowed to go out. This is not yet the time for leisure, the mayor said.
That’s good, mayor. Sometimes, we have to adopt an “iron fist” policy for us to learn our lesson.