FORMER Cebu City mayor Michael Rama wants the City Government to continue participating in discussions on Mega Cebu through Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella.
He has asked the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB) to invite Labella, who heads the City Council, to its quarterly meetings.
Rama’s pronouncement came after Mayor Tomas Osmeña recently announced that Cebu City will no longer be part of Mega Cebu, a program of the MCDCB that envisions to make Cebu a more livable and sustainable place to live in by 2050.
In an interview yesterday, Rama hit Osmeña for his statements and questioned his move.
“Why would one person feel monopolistic in making comments? It is a misfortune because before we were into a mega way. Now we are in a Jurassic period. I don’t know why such a change in a ship,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Rama went on to say that the previous council, which was composed mostly of the current mayor’s allies in the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) councilors, did not express any objections to the MCDCB and Mega Cebu.
During his two terms as mayor, Rama had attended meetings of the MCDCB and expressed the City’s full support for Mega Cebu.
MCDCB is composed of private sector representatives, government officials and the leaders of 13 local government units. Now, that may go down to 12 if Osmeña gets his way.
The other members are the cities of Carcar, Naga, Talisay, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Danao, and the municipalities of San Fernando, Minglanilla, Cordova, Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela.
Since Osmeña doesn’t want to be part of it, Rama said that Labella or even the members of the majority of the City Council, which is now composed of Team Rama councilors, could participate instead.
“Team Rama is for Mega Cebu. Labella and the council can be involved kay policy-making man na. I will have a meeting with the team and bring that directive,” he said.
Rama said that MCDCB can invite Labella considering that it also inviting non-government organizations to its gatherings.
Sought for comment about this, Labella said yesterday he will check if the move won’t have any legal ramifications.
“But I am inclined to attend,” he told Sun.Star Cebu, adding that Cebu City is one of the signatories in the memorandum of agreement (MOA) that created the MCDCB in 2011.
Labella added he plans to seek authority from the council so his attendance in the MCDCB meetings, which is done quarterly, will become official.
It was last week when Osmeña said he doesn’t want anything to do with Mega Cebu and MCDCB, saying it doesn’t have any authority to convene.
Asked about Rama’s pronouncement, MCDCB communications manager Carol Ballesteros said that under their manual of operations, the local chief executive is supposed to be the representative to the MCDCB.
But since the situation of Cebu City now is unique, she said Labella can attend.
“Mega Cebu is a cooperation of anybody or a volunteer. Even former mayor Rama is willing to help. Anyone is welcome,” she said.
Ballesteros went on to say that the vice mayor can be the official representative of Cebu City if he will be given an authority by the city’s legislative body.
Ballesteros said, though, she will still have to confirm this matter with the MCDCB executive committee.
Asked if a local chief executive can really pull out its membership from MCDCB, Ballesteros explained one cannot supposedly do that.
“There is a process. The membership man gud is not based on the person but on the position. It was the council who gave the mayor the authority to sign. Kung mo-pull out, it should be the council also,” she said.
On the issue Osmeña raised that MCDCB doesn’t have the authority to exist, Ballesteros said they have the backing under Article III (Inter-Government Relations) of the Local Government Code.
But Ballesteros said they will respect the decision of Osmeña.