Who coined the phrase “investment begging” to describe the Cebu City Government’s mission to attract outside investors?

Because I don’t think it’s appropriate. Not for one that calls itself the “Queen City of the South.”

Every time I see it used I picture city officials kowtowing to businessmen and officials in the National Capital Region.

Trust me. It’s not a sight to behold.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to disparage the begging profession. Beggars may not be able to choose but they certainly have the right to exist even though City Ordinance 1631 “prohibits the giving to and soliciting by mendicants of cash or any material goods in public places, buildings and establishments.”

The connotation leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Although I think I get it.

They don’t want to beat around the bush. The City is in dire financial straits. It needs money to fund projects that will fulfill the mayor’s Singapore-like vision for the city like painting the islands on Osmeña Blvd. that will eventually be demolished to make way for the Bus Rapid Transit project... if and when it gets off the ground.

I mean, seriously, the City is faced with so many problems like flooding and inflation and crime and I can go on and on and on and they’re painting street islands?

Has superficial beauty become a priority for the City? Is it paying homage to a former first lady whose son now sits in Malacañang? I hope they realize that “Madame” isn’t fond of that word either. Or maybe she is, I don’t know, I’m just assuming.

Maybe it’s the new “it” phrase to make inheriting trillions of pesos of debt from the previous administration sound chic.

Mind you, I am aware that Mayor Michael Rama started his term in July with no available budget for new projects.

That wasn’t his fault nor was it the fault of his predecessor that the City spent more money than its income for the past two years. The coronavirus pandemic did, ahem, cripple the economy, which meant lower revenue collection, among other things.

So is the City dirt poor? Well, yes and no. Yes, it is spending more than it earns. No, because, well, just look at the lifestyle of some of its officials.

At any rate, “investment begging” is better than raising taxes.

So I shouldn’t be too hard on whoever came up with that phrase. After all, if the City wants to call a spade a spade, it should be able to do so.

Come to think of it, “pimping” doesn’t sound too bad either.