Rama wants Cebu City residents to vote for governor

CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. (Cebu City PIO photo)

IF CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama had his way, residents of Cebu City would be able to vote for the governor.

“Being the capital of the whole Cebu Island, Cebu City should not suffer disenfranchisement,” Rama said during his regular online program, “Ingna’ng Mayor,” on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.

The mayor, who was accompanied by his son Mikel, said he came up with the proposal to fulfill the One Cebu Island principle.

However, he said there should be a status quo on the existing political and territorial boundaries between Cebu City and Cebu Province.

He said Cebu City is a highly urbanized city (HUC) and must remain independent from the Provincial Government.

Still, the mayor emphasized the importance of respect, collaboration, and cooperation between the two local governments units (LGUs).

Rama said that as president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, he has witnessed conflicts between a mayor of an HUC and a governor due to political indifference.

“I don’t want to mention nga bullyhon sila sa (that they are being bullied by the) governor just because they are independent and (different) from the component (cities). That should never be,” Rama said.

“As a president of League of Cities of the Philippines, I am organizing Alce, an Association of Local Chief Executive on a friendship alliance,” he added.


Rama said this will allow mayors from HUCs and component cities to converge and collaborate.

He said this will prepare component cities to be more competitive in local governance and later lead their constituents if they become an independent component city and an HUC.

Meanwhile, Rama denied he has any plans to run for governor in the future.

But he pointed out that he has relatives who had been officials in the Cebu Provincial Government, including an uncle who served as governor from 1969 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988.

“Who will stop me from running for governor if I do decide to run? I can always move to Aloguinsan,” he said, adding that his wife Malou is a resident of the southwestern town.

To push forward the initiative, Rama asked his son Mikel, a lawyer, to look into the proposal and collaborate with Cebu South District Rep. Eduardo Rama Jr. for legislative measures.

Mikel, who will be running for councilor in the south district in the 2025 midterm elections, explained that Batas Pambansa 51 of 1979 explicitly prohibits voters from HUCs to elect officials in the provincial government.

Under the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, HUCs must be independent from the province.

Mikel said they discovered that residents of Mandaue City were initially not able to vote in the provincial elections due to Republic Act 5519, or the Charter of the City of Mandaue City.

One identity

However, the City’s charter was amended to allow city residents for provincial officials, he said.

With Cebu City celebrating its Charter Anniversary on Feb. 24, Mikel suggested using the time to review the City’s charter, as well as revisit the LGC.

Mikel said Cebu City voters and provincial voters share one identity that is rooted in their devotion and faith in the Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu.

“Ang mga Sugbuanon (Cebuanos) were meant to be united and to have a common heart and have common dreams and hope,” Mikel said.

Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, said the mayor’s latest proposal is not a priority agenda in the City Council.


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