LAST-term councilors and their colleagues who lost in the last elections in Cebu City said goodbye to the City Council yesterday.
Reelected Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella thanked them for a job well done since 2013 and for being part of a council that he described as “the most prolific” legislative body he has been with.
“Considering the fact that I’ve been in five councils—four as a member and one as a vice mayor—I would say, without fear of contradiction, that this council is the most prolific council. We have passed several important legislations and I am very proud,” he said during the 13th Sangguniang Panlungsod’s last regular session yesterday.
Among the important measures they have passed, Labella said, was the Cebu City Investment Code that makes the city more attractive to investors by granting them tax breaks.
The council, which approved a resolution of Councilor James Cuenco, suspended their house rules yesterday to invite and allow the last-term and outgoing councilors to speak there for the last time.
They have not been attending the once-a-week session for over a month now after the Office of the President suspended 12 out of 17 council members over the distribution of P20,000 each as calamity assistance to officials and employees in 2013.
Councilor Alvin Dizon, who spoke first, thanked the Cebuanos for allowing him to serve for the past six years.
He has passed several measures that included the anti-discrimination ordinance, the provision of free parking to the elderly and persons with disabilities, barrier-free tourism and the grant of a graduation fee subsidy to public school graduates.
“I learned so much about government in this legislature. This has taken my development work in the non-government organization to a new level where every policy deliberated and passed helped shape the lives of the sector it intended to serve,” he said.
Even if he lost in the May 9 elections, Dizon said his public service will continue and will just take another form.
Councilor Nida Cabrera, for her part, said she takes pride in being part of a council that looked after the betterment of the city.
She said she will continue to help the city, which will be led by Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan chief Tomas Osmeña, whose term as mayor will start at noon today.
“Ang pagkahuman sa among termino wala magpasabot sa pag-undang usab sa mga tinguha aron sa paghatag sa tiunay nga serbisyo ngadto sa katawhan. Magpadayon kami ug moabag sa dakbayan alang sa kaayohan sa kadaghanan (The end of our term does not end our efforts to provide sincere service to the people. We will continue to help the City for the greater good),” she added.
Councilor Gerardo Carillo, who was defeated in the race for south district congressman, thanked the council for supporting the legislative measures he filed.
He also thanked the public for making him serve the city for 12 years already, which he described as a “humbling experience.”
As for Councilor Noel Wenceslao, he said he will treasure the experience he had with the council and thanked the constituents for voting for him in the past elections.
He asked the incoming officials to serve the public with dedication.
“As an ordinary citizen, I am looking forward that political colors should be set aside and instead (that everyone will) work hand in hand for a peaceful and progressive city, a place every Cebuano will be proud to live in,” he added.
The new councilors will hold their inaugural session on July 5.
Before ending his speech, Wenceslao said: “I have faithfully discharged the duties and responsibilities as member of the council, and I did it my way.” He sang that last part like the lyric from the ballad “My Way.”
Councilor Nestor Archival Sr., who was defeated in the vice mayoral race, was not able to attend yesterday’s activity.
As for the last-termer councilors, Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias said he was thankful for the opportunity to be part of the council.
He said the legacy he will leave the council is making its regular session use less paper.
“Ang atong agenda sauna baga kaayo plus attachment pa. Puerteng kasa sa papel unya kung e-multiply nimo one year and pila kabuok members sa council, mapuno na ang isa ka-kwarto ug papel gyud. So with the advent of technology, we introduced the use of less paper (The agenda used to be so thick, what with all the attachments. It was such a waste of paper. In a year, all the paper the council used could have filled an entire room),” he said.
He said he would’ve wanted to implement an entirely paperless session but some of his colleagues couldn’t adjust to that yet.
Councilor Richard Osmeña, for his part, said he hopes the friendships they have established will continue.
He wished them good luck as they continue to serve the city.
Councilor Lea Japson said she will continue to serve the city even if her term will end.
With Mayor Osmeña on top of City Hall, Japson said, the City is in “good hands.”
Japson said she was proud of having served in the council for nine years and followed in the footsteps of her father, former Association of Barangay Councils president Ananias Ouano, in giving “honest and diligent” work to the City.
Reelected Councilor Margarita Osmeña, who is currently the acting mayor, asked the reelected councilors to cooperate “as much as they can” with the next administration.
“It may be hard for others to accept but we have no choice. Let’s respect whom the people have chosen,” she said.
She added issues may have been raised and thrown in the past but she asked colleagues to give due respect to the elected officials.
“We may not always love each other or like each other or sometimes, it is hard to respect each other, but the positions that we hold, that we must give respect to,” she said.
After the speeches, the 13th Sangguniang Panlungsod posed for a “class photo.”
By the time you read this, the oath-taking of 11 winners from Team Rama will probably have ended.
Adlaon Barangay Captain Nieves Narra, one of the longest serving public servants in Cebu City, was scheduled to administer the oaths of Team Rama’s elected officials at 7:30 a.m. today.
The venue is the Rama Compound.
In a phone interview, Narra said she at first declined because she had only assumed the office after the death of her son and did not win the post through an election.
“Nagsakit pa sad akong kabubut-on kay bag-o pa namatay akong anak (I am also still grieving the death of my son),” said the captain, who is 72.
Narra said she had been asked to administer the oath since Monday, but she only said yes to the offer at noon yesterday. Reelected Vice Mayor Labella said that Narra was chosen because she embodies the council’s thrusts of developing women leaders and the barangays.
“She is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, barangay captains serving, so we should give due recognition to that,” Labella said.
Narra took her oath of office before Acting Mayor Margot Osmeña last June 16, following the death of her son, former Adlaon Barangay Captain Elvis Narra. She took over because among the village’s councilors, she had gained the most votes.
Her son Elvis died due to an internal hemorrhage last June 4, 2016 two weeks after a motorcycle accident.
Apart from Labella, those set to take oath before Barangay Captain Narra are Councilors Jose Daluz III, Dave Tumulak, Nendell Hanz Abella, James Cuenco, Joel Garganera, Raymond Garcia, Jerry Guardo, Edu Rama, Pastor Alcover and Jocelyn Pesquera.
While Osmeña won the mayorship again after six years, it is now Team Rama that has the majority of seats in the City Council. With Ianne Clarisse A. Ortiz, UP Cebu Intern