IN AN 11-6 vote, the Cebu City Council authorized Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella to attend the meetings and participate in the discussions of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB).

Labella will represent the council in the board and not Cebu City entirely.

This is an offshoot to Councilor Raymond Garcia’s privilege speech during the legislative body’s session yesterday, made in the wake of Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s pronouncement that he doesn’t want Cebu City to be part of Mega Cebu.

Garcia said he doesn’t want to question Osmeña’s decision and his wisdom for doing so.

“However, if we do not attend such discussions, then I fear that we will be left out in important discussions and plans outlined for our great city,” he said.

Mega Cebu is a program of MCDCB that envisions to make Cebu more liveable and a sustainable place to live in by 2050 through the formulation and integration of metro-wide plans, policies and strategies.

Need for cooperation

The MCDCB, which was established in 2011, is composed of private sector representatives, government officials and leaders of 13 local government units (LGUs) including Cebu City.

In his speech, Garcia said he was baffled by Osmeña’s statement that MCDCB is partisan for having supported former mayor Michael Rama in the six years of his administration.

That, when 70 percent of the board is composed of non-voters in the city.

Granting that they supported Rama in their individual capacity, Garcia argued that they did not bring with them the name of the MCDCB and just exercised their right of suffrage.

Garcia then stressed the need for coordination, cooperation and collaboration among LGUs in solving metro-wide problems that include flooding, traffic congestion and water shortage, among others.

These problems, he said, are not only being experienced in Cebu City but are also being felt in other LGUs, hence, these need “collective answers.”

This was already stressed under the Roadmap Study for Sustainable Urban Development, a study initiated in 2013 by the MCDCB in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, he said.

Usurpation of function

“No man is an island and in the like manner, no city can solve its problems by itself,” Garcia said.

As Osmeña questioned the existence of the MCDCB and its personality, Garcia went on to say that what exist are these problems that Cebuanos face.

Garcia then moved for Labella to represent the council in all MCDCB meetings, assemblies and discussions.

After his speech, Councilor Sisinio Andales said Labella doesn’t have the legal personality to attend MCDCB gatherings since LGUs should be represented by local chief executives.

He said the move is tantamount to usurpation of the functions of the mayor.

But Garcia said the vice mayor will represent the council.

Councilor James Cuenco asked if Labella will just observe or will he vote in instances that call for voting among MCDCB members.

Garcia retorted that it will be up to the board whether it will acknowledge Labella.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya then asked what problems the MCDCB has addressed so far.

After the discussions, Labella called for a vote on Garcia’s motion to authorize him to attend the MCDCB meetings.

All 11 Team Rama councilors approved, while the six Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan councilors voted against.

The council then asked the MCDCB to submit a summary of its accomplishments since 2011.