Editorial: Not MCDCB’s loss

IT'S NOT that members of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB), or at least those who were there when the group was founded, did not see it coming when Tomas Osmeña defeated Michael Rama for the post of Cebu City mayor in the May 9 elections. With Osmeña at the helm, his pulling out Cebu City from the MCDCB and his shooting down its Mega Cebu program was the expected next step.

There is a reason why the MCDCB only became truly after Rama became mayor in 2010 and not prior to that. It's not only that Osmeña does not like some of the people who are in the MCDCB—that is only a recent development. From the very beginning, Osmeña has been opposed to the creation of the Metro Cebu body that does not give a prominent role to Cebu City and, by extension, its mayor.

But first, Osmeña's dislike of some people behind the Mega Cebu program of the MCDCB and of some members of the MCDCB itself is genuine not only because they worked closely with his bitter political rival Rama but also because they did block some of his projects, specifically those when he was Cebu City south district congressman. And Osmeña does not forget those who cross him.

That merely skims the surface of the issue, however. Because everything goes down to the leadership style of the mayor. When a cooperative endeavor among Metro Cebu mayors was first broached in the '90s, Osmeña wanted Cebu City to have a bigger say in it, citing size and economic clout.

His concept then was for Cebu to be a “big brother” to the other local government units (LGU). One town mayor reacted by noting that, in turn, he does not want his town to be used as site of the city's garbage dump. Thus, the proposal never reached second base. Lack of consensus was also partly the reason Rep. Raul del Mar's effort to legislate a Metro Cebu Development Authority failed.

This does not mean, however, that members of the MCDCB should sulk and that the pursuit of the Mega Cebu program should grind to a halt. While Cebu City is an important LGU, in reality it is only one unit in the entire Metro Cebu area. It would be wrong for the other LGUs to be sacrificed just because one unit does not want to be part of it. MCDCB needs to show to the people in Metro Cebu—and Cebu City—that, in the end, this is Osmeña's loss and not that of MCDCB.

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