Rama ‘vague’ on relations with vice mayor

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garica./
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garica./CEBU CITY NEWS & INFORMATION

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has yet to assess his political dynamics with Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garica despite the earlier announcement of their tandem for reelection in the 2025 midterm elections.

When asked about his relationship with Garcia on Friday, March 1, 2024, Rama said, “I am an independent mayor.”

Rama said he was “circumspect” in looking at their relationship, recalling that he already issued a statement that “enough is enough.”

Rama said there should be no pretension and warned his colleagues to be very careful.

“There’s no pretension here... I mean, (this) is my 32 years already serving Cebu City... My colleagues should be very careful, very careful. But talking about political changes, of course so far, (it’s) the way I want,” he said.

Rama pointed out that the filing of certificates of candidacy is still in October.

“October is still far (away), but the most important thing to remember... I am an independent mayor,” he said.

On Thursday, Feb. 29, Rama said he was displeased with Garcia’s privilege speech, which called for a halt on the ongoing construction of bus stations of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) along Osmeña Blvd.

Garcia had requested the Office of the Building Official (OBO) to issue a cease and desist order against the CBRT contractor as he sought a better design for the bus stations that could be proposed to the appropriate bodies, including the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (Chac) of Cebu City, and the City Council.

Rama said the matters raised in Garcia’s speech could have been discussed privately, as Garcia and the rest of the council could have had an emergency meeting with him.

Garcia, for his part, assured that Rama was only emotional about the matter, but not angry with the council’s decision, saying they are both advocates of heritage preservation.

Garcia said their opposing views are “normal,” assuring that they are “strictly professional” about it.

“This is very normal gyud. This (is) strictly professional, and we have shown time and time again that the council is independent and we have our own minds, and we think by ourselves, and we have the same interest which is the interest of the city of Cebu,” he said.

He said their opposing views will not affect their personal and working relationship.

“It does not break our relationship as party mates, and more importantly, as friends,” he said.

Ruiz hits administration

Meanwhile, former customs commissioner and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 director Yogi Filemon Ruiz hit the current administration with regard to the CBRT and the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

Ruiz, who has expressed his desire to run for mayor next year, said if he wins, he will prioritize basic needs.

In a press conference at Sacred Heart Center in Cebu City Friday, he said he did not want to pretend to be an expert on the field, adding that he does not want to use the misery of the public to further his own political interest.

He said the CBRT project has been through many revisions, and asked why it was approved if the program was not feasible.

“Unsa may tumong ug tinguha ang budget (Is the budget the aim and the purpose)?” Ruiz said.

Ruiz said he does not want the CBRT project to be another CCMC that has yet to be completed after eight years of construction.

“CCMC has become a world-record longest constructed hospital in the whole world. Kung minyo pa na ang CCMC, mag-10 years anniversary na sila (If the CCMC were married, it would celebrate its 10th anniversary already),” he said.

If he wins the race for mayor, Ruiz said he will make Cebu City “the safest city in the Philippines.”

Ruiz said he will not prioritize “Singapore-like” visions but solve basic services that are left unaddressed like peace and order, health and social services, traffic and mobility, garbage and waste disposal and flooding and drainage management.

He said these pressing problems will have to be solved first, and everything else will follow.

“Unya na ta anang mga (Let’s not come up now with) grandiose plans that are leading us to nowhere,” he said.

Ruiz assured that the city can lure businesses and investors if these basis services are addressed.

As for his running mate, he said he is eyeing incumbent city councilors.

“I still have to convince them to come out,” he said.

Ruiz added that he still needs to consult his group for the official launching of Partido Cebuano, their political party, later this month. / AML

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