Feliciano resigns as Gubat sa Baha chief implementer

CEBU. Retired major general Melquiades Feliciano.
CEBU. Retired major general Melquiades Feliciano.SunStar File

AFTER almost two months of working with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, retired major general Melquiades Feliciano has decided to quit his post as chief implementer of Task Force Gubat sa Baha (TFGB).

He cited “loss of interest” as his reason for leaving.

This is what Feliciano told SunStar Cebu when asked to confirm if he had stepped down from the TFGB, a group tasked to implement measures that help combat floods and develop a flood-resilient Cebu City.

In a text message on Friday, Dec. 22, 2023, Feliciano said he resigned last Tuesday, Dec. 19.

However, he clarified that he is not completely cutting his ties with the Rama administration. He said he will hold on to his position of chairman of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) board of directors.

Rama appointed him to the MCWD board of directors last Oct. 31, along with lawyer Aristotle Batuhan and businessman Nelson Yuvallos, a move that was contested by the sitting chairman, Jose Daluz III, and two other board members, Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno—whom the new appointees were designated to replace.

“For the TFGB, yes. For MCWD, no,” Feliciano said.

In November, Rama instructed Feliciano, as TFGB chief implementer, to proceed with the demolition of edifices that obstruct waterways in the city.

On Thursday, Dec. 21, a Facebook post from Pulitika sa Sugbo was shared by the Facebook account of a Nicolle Seno and reposted on Cebu Updates Newsroom (a Facebook group by Cebu Updates) by another account in the name of Toni Cervantez.

The post included a screengrab of the TFGB group chat containing a message justifying Feliciano’s decision to leave his post.

On Friday, Feliciano said his wife was the author of the message, and gave members of the media his permission to quote her.

In her husband’s defense

“Gen Mel takes his commitment seriously and he values (the) respect shown to him. To be called out yesterday by Mayor Mike in public, ‘Mel, if you want this job do your part,’ that to him was an insult to his work ethics. More so when he was the one who was asked to help,” wrote Feliciano’s wife, Mia, in response to the query of Rene Ugsimar Borromeo on why Feliciano had left the group chat.

“Prior to accepting the challenge of Gubat sa Baha he took time to study all materials made available to him. He met up with experts because he never say(s) yes unless he means it. I’m a witness to that one week of intense study and continues to study up until last week.

“Gen Mel values his reputation over and above anything. When he volunteers his services he is committed and gives it his all. But if he thinks he’s ineffective he will never hesitate to walk away. He’s a very simple man with a very simple but hard core standards. Respect is one of those at the top of his lists. He does not say much but he observes,” Mia continued.

“Maybe Mayor Mike meant it as a joke but Gen Mel does not take (a) statement like that lightly. For now he does not see himself (as) effective. His expectations of the support for the task at hand simply do not match with what he has planned to implement for the realization of Mayor Mike’s vision. This is evident on (in) the four weeks he tried to set up (the) office. Of course he commends the river commanders and everyone for their work.

“I’m not Gen Mel’s official spokesperson. I’m doing this actually without his permission because I do think those who asked the why deserve an explanation.

“Have a Merry Christmas everyone!” wrote Mia.

Feliciano did not say when exactly Rama called him out in public, adding that he did not want to go into details.

Last Nov. 28, Rama also tapped Feliciano to help enhance security measures in the Cebu City Government.

Background

In 2022, Feliciano first joined the group of two other retired generals—Debold Sinas and Roy Cimatu—as consultants of Rama to help achieve the mayor’s vision of a Singapore-like Cebu City.

Retired Maj. Gen. Feliciano was the former Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases deputy chief implementer for the Visayas during the coronavirus disease pandemic, as well as the region’s vaccine czar.

SunStar Cebu tried to get a comment from Rama on Feliciano’s resignation, but to no avail.

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