CEBU City Hall is becoming interesting again. After the City Council tinkered with the supplemental budget submitted to it by Mayor Michael Rama, here comes Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young and Rep. Tomas Osmeña prodding Mike to buy three old planes that even the Department of Education (Dep Ed) wants to let go of. It suddenly looks like the mayor is besieged.
I could just imagine Rama, thinking he’s finally the city’s boss, being slammed back to reality.
In the first few days since he took over the post from Osmeña, Mike did seem to have his way. He defied the former mayor’s admonition not to let his girlfriend, former councilor Joy Pesquera, take part in running City Hall and appointed Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung, a friend of Gov. Gwen Garcia, to head a beautification “superbody.”
It didn’t take long for the governor, who has been at odds with Rama’s predecessor, to offer the mayor the olive branch.
Garcia’s proposal to reopen negotiations on the status of provincial lots being occupied by informal settlers in the city had Osmeña issuing warnings to Rama. But the mayor seemed determined to show he is bent on following an independent path.
And then came Rama’s Supplemental Budget No. 3. In a show of defiance, the council slashed the amounts appropriated for some items and inserted an item without the mayor’s knowledge.
The message was sent: this is a different council and Mike is no Osmeña. In short, the council is one Rama can’t control.
There’s no question where the loyalty of majority of the councilors lie. Those politicians know where their bread is buttered. To be able to realize his plans, the mayor must therefore enter into a politics of consensus. Which actually means he has to course his proposals through the real boss, Osmeña, before he can get positive response from the council.
That surely is damaging to Mike’s ego. But then again, that ego has been subjected to beatings by Osmeña in the past years, the latest being the insults he hurled at Rama when he was still vice mayor and starting to get comfy with the governor.
Now the mayor is being pressured by both Osmeña and Young to buy those ancient Dep Ed planes. I actually don’t see a reason for the city to own old planes, no matter how cheap.
For one, it’s not like the need for a plane is a life-and-death thing for the city.
Osmeña and Young said it can be used during calamities. But calamities are not regular occurrences in the city and besides there are other government entities based here that are more capable of responding to any emergency.
Secondly, I agree with Rama about the maintenance issue. Those are ancient planes that need constant attention. Plus you need pilots to fly them. That could be costly for the city in the long run.
Indeed, we may end up becoming one of the few cities in the country that own planes. But how proud would we be in having “kagang-kagang” planes whose old engines may sputter while flying? I don’t think it will take long before those planes end up in the junk yard.
I mean, there are telling reasons for the mayor not to give in to the prodding of Osmeña and Young to buy the Dep Ed planes.
But will he be able to refuse a suggestion from the “real boss”? That is something that we will soon find out in the coming days.
What is clear thus far is that Rama’s claim to being his own man will undergo its first major test on this issue.
(firstname.lastname@example.org/ my blog: Cebuano.wordpress.com)