As the joke goes, “dreaming is free.”

It has been almost a hundred days since June 30, 2022 when Cebu City Mayor Michael “Mike” Rama took his oath of office. During his inaugural speech, the city mayor envisions achieving a Singapore-like Cebu City. While I’m delighted by Mayor Rama’s plans of improving the image of the city dubbed “Queen City of the South,” which I believe it still is, there are people who are skeptical of his dreams, probably thinking that what the mayor had said was a joke.

Mayor Rama, in his inaugural speech, challenged his fellow city officials and the stakeholders to support him in achieving his dream to make Cebu City a highly developed city. “Will you support me? Will you support the city government? This is my new term. We must make it successful.” Those were his challenges and encouragement.

In his three-year term, the city mayor said he plans to finally finish the long-awaited bus rapid transit (BRT) system and start the feasibility study for the light railway system, monorail system and cable cars, to provide mass transport to the growing number of workers in the city.

In his first 100 days, the city mayor also wants to fully pay the SRP loan, materialize the 93-1 deal, realize the BRT project, convene a traffic summit, asphalt the city streets, install public Wi-Fi and roll out the Let There Be Light project.

He also wants the realization of socialized medium-rise buildings and the housing for city employees, and equipping and modernizing the police force and building new police stations.

The mayor also wants to bring life into various infrastructure projects such as landscaping of empty spaces in the city, including center islands and the spaces under skywalks, to have more green spaces in the city.

The Singapore-like Cebu City dream of Mayor Rama is undoubtedly doable. But it’s not like a walk in the park. To name a few, the following are the basic problems of the city that Mayor Rama and his administration have to tackle: 1) garbage; 2) traffic congestion; 3) bad roads; 4) informal settlers; 5) flooding; and 6) crime. To sum it up, these problems boil down to one basic factor: the lack of discipline of everyone. There are drivers of public utility vehicles as well as of private cars drivers who can’t follow or don’t observe simple traffic rules. Worse, even those in cop’s uniform blatantly disregard traffic rules.

Just like the saying Rome was not built in a day, the same is true of Singapore. It took many trying years for the late prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who served as the first prime minister of Singapore from 1959 until 1990, to develop Singapore to what it is today. To recall, Singapore was the object of international criticism for its corporal punishment and shaming of those that violated its laws as a way of strictly enforcing the laws and imposing discipline on its citizens and even on tourists. Can we do it here? I seriously doubt it though.

I fully support these ambitious but doable plans of Mayor Rama and his administration in the same manner that I back and promote any plans of the national government leadership and the other local government leaders that are geared toward the improvement and betterment of everyone’s status in life and protection of our environment since there is only one place we live, and that is planet Earth.

The only handicap of Mayor Rama as well as his fellow city officials is that they have only three years in office to implement his dream of a city where the people are disciplined and live abundantly, and take care of our mother nature to avert the inevitable climate change.