Rama omitted from Palarong Pambansa 2024 program

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama
Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama File photo/Cebu City PIO

SUSPENDED Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, despite his significant role in securing Cebu City as the Palarong Pambansa 2024 host, has been excluded from the event’s official program.

However, a city official said Rama “may still grace” the national sporting event.

In a press conference on Friday, June 28, Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia said the mayor of the host city is traditionally tasked with welcoming all delegations during the opening ceremony of the Palaro. This year’s Palaro opening ceremonies are scheduled on July 9, at 5 p.m. at the Cebu City Sports Center.

“Originally, he (Rama) was there, but because of his ‘forced’ leave, he no longer practices or exercises the function of the city mayor,” Garcia said, noting that he will have to come in as the acting mayor of the City of Cebu.

Garcia and his aunt Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia are expected to give remarks during the Palaro opening ceremonies.

Garcia, on Friday, thanked Rama, Acting Vice Mayor Donaldo Hontiveros, and Department of Education in Central Visayas Director Salustiano Jimenez for winning the bid to bring the Palarong Pambansa to Cebu City, outcompeting Bacolod City and Antique Province.

Cebu City last hosted the Palaro in 1994.

On Thursday, June 27, Rama expressed his intention to attend some events at the upcoming Palarong Pambansa, calling for political differences to be set aside to focus on the overall success of the event.

Rama is currently serving his six-month preventive suspension, which will end in November. He is one of the eight City Hall officials accused of mistreating City Hall employees by withholding salaries.

Meanwhile, when asked which national politicians will attend the event, Garcia said there is no confirmation yet if President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. or Vice President Sara Duterte will be coming, but he assured that the city is prepared to welcome them.

Garcia, however, expressed certainty that politicians who desired to be re-elected in next year’s polls will surely be coming over to attend the event.

Peace and order

Meanwhile, Garcia instructed the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “keep the peace in Cebu,” especially during the duration of the Palarong Pambansa, as the whole Philippines is looking at Cebu during the entire sporting event.

Garcia said the war they are facing now is a war against criminality.

Waste management

DepEd Assistant Superintendent for Cebu City Division Adolf Aguilar, for his part, said athletes will be provided with water tumblers to minimize the use of plastic water bottles.

Aguilar said they aim to achieve less waste and less plastic use, as this is also part of the criteria for the eco-friendly award given to delegations with the least accumulated waste. / AML

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