CEBU

Bzzzzz: Chamber of Commerce opposed Cebu City's charter. We're not ready, business sector said in 1936... Guadalupe, Lahug lockdowns. Those 'Run Sara Run' billboards.

CEBU. (From left) Don Vicente Rama, author of the Cebu City Charter; Jose Eleazar Bersales, director of the USC Museum; and a "Run Sara Run" streamer that was placed on a skywalk in Cebu City. (SunStar/USC Department of Anthropology, Sociology and History Facebook page)

PEOPLE are talking about...

[1] WHO DECIDED ON GUADALUPE, LAHUG LOCKDOWNS.. The Sunday lockdowns in Cebu City's biggest barangays have started: last January in Guadalupe and February 14 in Lahug.

Except for the chiefs of the two barangays, no one at City Hall is talking as to who decided the strict measure. People assume though that the mayor must have approved the step.

Last November 13, 2020, Mayor Edgardo Labella was quoted as saying, "I have the final say about any lockdown in any part of the city, upon the recommendation of the Department of Health and the city health department." The mayor at the time reacted to the warning of the Emergency Operations Center of a possible lockdown should the Covid-19 cases continue to rise and the comment of the business sector to the warning.

[2] SARA DUTERTE FOR 2022. Would the demolition group at Cebu City Hall called Probe would take down those billboards that have proliferated in the city since Monday, February 22? The Office of the Building Official (OBO) reportedly found them as having no permits and ordered Probe to remove them.

Billboards inside private lots and spaces do not need permits. Only those in public areas do. They may not be illegal but they give premature advantage to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte if she would run for president in 2022. As in the past, Comelec is expected to say it cannot do anything about it. Her potential rivals can also put up similar billboards, if they have the resources.

A few things about Vicente Rama

Many Cebu City residents didn't know a few things about the father of the city charter until they watched the Don Vicente Rama lecture Tuesday, February 23, conducted by Jose Eleazar Bersales, director of the USC Museum, professor, researcher and author of books on Cebuano culture and history. They didn't know that:

[1] The Cebu Chamber of Commerce -- along with a number of politicians whom Bersales didn't name (as some of them have descendants still active in politics) -- opposed the creation of four towns into a city, arguing that the would-be city was not ready to become one.

[2] Don Vicente had planned for a central sewage system for the city. It did not push through, like all the other local governments in the country. But, Bersales said, it showed that Rama was a visionary.

[3] Vicente Rama served from 1938 to 1940 as mayor of the new city his law created. Alfredo Jacinto of Gapan, Nueva Ecija -- appointed by President Manuel Quezon -- resigned after serving for only one year, 1937 to 1938. Quezon then turned to Rama, who was then a congressman, "Serve your fellow Cebuanos," or something to that effect in Spanish, Bersales recounted.

[4] When war erupted, Rama served as wartime mayor of Carcar, Cebu (now a city), where he sought refuge. The Japanese Imperial Army appointed him to the post, an offer he could not refuse.

[5] The quote attributed to Don Vicente at the end of Bersales's lecture expressed his belief in having "more government, less politics." No, he didn't say, "Together we can make great things happen." His grandson Mike Rama has been saying that.

Don Vicente was a legislator, publisher ("Nueva Fuerza" and "Bag-ong Kusog") and writer who authored the Cebu City Charter, which became a law on October 20, 1936 and led to the city's inauguration on February 24, 1937.

He had served as -- in descending order -- senator, Cebu City mayor, congressman of Cebu's third district, assemblyman of the fourth district, and a councilor of Cebu City. One of his sons (who also included Osmundo Rama, the former governor and Nap Rama, the national journalist) was Fernando Rama, former city councilor and father of ex-councilor, ex-vice mayor and ex-mayor and presently Vice Mayor Mike.

The 19th memorial lecture was held on the eve of the 84th City Charter Day.

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