Capitol offers financial aid for Palaro

Convergence at the capitol. Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia gets a warm welcome from his aunt, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, at the governor’s office on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. The acting mayor was there to attend a meeting with Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes (left) and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan (right). There were there to discuss several issues, including Cebu City’s hosting of the Palarong Pambansa in July. /
Convergence at the capitol. Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia gets a warm welcome from his aunt, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, at the governor’s office on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. The acting mayor was there to attend a meeting with Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes (left) and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan (right). There were there to discuss several issues, including Cebu City’s hosting of the Palarong Pambansa in July. / Amper Campaña

RELATIONS between the Cebu City Government and the Provincial Capitol have entered into a period of détente with the preventive suspension of Mayor Michael Rama.

At the height of the public clash between Rama and Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia over the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project, the mayor filed a complaint before the Office of the President seeking, among others, her suspension.

But with Rama temporarily out of the way, and with Cebu City in the reins of Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia as acting mayor, the two local governments can once again sit down and discuss their common interests.

On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, Governor Garcia offered financial assistance to the Cebu City Government for the latter’s hosting of the Palarong Pambansa in July.

Acting Mayor Garcia visited the Capitol on Wednesday for the first time since he took over the City Government last Monday, May 13.

He was warmly welcomed by the governor, his aunt, and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan.

The Cebu City official told SunStar Cebu in a phone interview that they are looking at the possibility of involving the Province and the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu in the Palarong Pambansa.

“Ang akong (My) end goal or direction is really more of sports tourism as well. It’s not only just the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa,” he said.

Acting Mayor Garcia said Cebu City is expecting 20,000 individuals, composed of athletes and their families.

He said the City needs the help of the Province and other cities and municipalities, particularly in coming up with special packages for sports tourism.

“Example if you are an athlete in Palaro you have a 10 percent discount if you watch the whale sharks. That’s sports tourism and cooperation of everybody,” he said.

He said the governor is willing to provide financial assistance if there is a necessity; however, she did not say how much.

The acting mayor clarified that Cebu City will still be hosting the annual multi-sport even, but the two neighboring cities can serve as venues for some sporting events.

“Example, we can let Lapu-Lapu host basketball kay nindot man ang Lapu-Lapu Hoops Dome or we can let Mandaue host arnis because during Cviraa (Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association) they were the champion),” Garcia said.

However, he said nothing is final yet. They are just look at possibilities that there will be cooperation among all local government units in hosting the Palarong Pambansa, he added.

When asked if the City needed to shell out additional budget, the acting mayor believed there was no need.

“... and besides it’s too late to come up with a supplemental budget for that. I think it is already sufficient,” he said.

The City had approved a P405 million budget for Palaro.

He said the City is in the finishing stages of preparation, as the Cviraa, which Cebu City hosted earlier this month, served as a template for the Palaro.

He said that one of their remaining challenges has to do with the track oval at the Cebu City Sports Center, adding that the new rubber track will take time to dry.

He said he will meet with the contractor for an update on the project.

The Palarong Pambansa is scheduled to take place from July 6 to 17.

Cebu City first hosted the event in 1954, and again in 1994.

The acting mayor announced that the Palaro will be one of his priorities.

Rama and seven others were preventively suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman for six months over the reassignments and the non-release of salaries of four regular city employees that had been assigned at the City Assessor’s Office. / AML

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