CEBU City Mayor Mike Rama has been using songs and jingles in his political campaigns: in 2013, the Team Rama south district jingle; 2016, Mayor Mike Rama jingle "Shine"; 2019, Mike Rama for vice mayor music video; and 2022, "Kang Mayor Rama Kitang Tanan."

Rama won reelection as mayor in 2013 but lost in 2016, won as vice mayor to Edgardo Labella in 2019, and won in 2022 as the sitting mayor, completing Labella's unfinished term. In those election contests, the chosen battle hymn was sung, played and/or danced to. It would lend mood or atmosphere to the rally or march, even as it couldn't be credited totally for victory or loss.

Mayor Rama must believe in the idea of song -- and dance -- supporting the pitch for votes and pushing the mayor's pet projects and initiatives. The latter, between election campaigns, such as:

(a) the Singapore-like Cebu City music video, to which the mayor and back-up dancers prance on the public stage for several weeks now and -- last Monday, May 29, 2023, during the flag-raising program in front of City Hall -- and

(b) the 1972 Beatle John Lennon song "Power to the People."

'DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.' Mayor Mike's "declaration of independence" -- unveiled May 26 and explained May 29 -- was premised on such precepts as power emanating from the people and party interest ending when the country's interest begins. The mayor said he would decide solely on what benefits public interest and put an end to political and other interferences. Which many City Hall watchers interpret as Rama freeing himself from Jose Daluz III, political ally and former party campaign manager, and other influencers on the mayor's decisions.

That would require, under Rama's "declaration of independence," shifting influence or power to the people ("ang gahum naa's katwhan"), thus endearing to the mayor and his current project the songs about people power.

'ASA MAN TONG JOHN LENNON?' The mayor asked for the 1971 John Lennon song "Power to People" but the technicians were not yet ready, so the mayor sang instead, a capella and courageously, Freddie Aguilar's "Bayan Ko," the 1986 Edsa Revolution theme song.

His request for the Beatle song ("Asa na man tong John Lennon, day, wa man ninyo giandam") finally brought it on the public-address system, just after he ended the "Ang Bayan Ko" ordeal. And the mayor also joined the singing, along with the crowd and other City Hall officials, including, notably, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, Councilor Dondon Hontiveros, and department heads.

FOR PEOPLE TO SING. Lennon was often quoted that he wrote the song as "another quickie," just like "Give Peace a Chance," justifying it as "something for the people to sing."

Mayor Mike's use of the song to hype up his "declaration of independence" from Daluz and company takes a cue from the 2016 and 2020 US presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders. Sanders's theme in vote-getting was: empower the people.

The song, which Lennon assessed later as mediocre work, repeats the phrase "Power to the people" at least 30 times. And its second stanza encourages revolution quite literally: "Say you want a revolution/ We better get on right away/ Well you get on your feet/ And out on the street." "Power to the People" was billed as John Lennon's "revolutionary statement, a call to action that had its roots in the radical politics of the 1960s." The title was one of the expressions that were "part of the late 20th century cultural thinking."

That might not be what Mayor Mike's declaration of independence from Daluz and company intended. Perhaps "Ang Bayan Ko" -- with some work on the pitch -- would be more apt.