Ruiz to fix problems of ‘deteriorated’ Cebu

Ruiz to fix problems of ‘deteriorated’ Cebu
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FORMER Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional director Yogi Filemon Ruiz, who has thrown his hat into the ring for Cebu City’s mayoral race in 2025, said he will be running to provide solutions to the “deteriorated Cebu.”

Ruiz said in a media forum on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, his choice to enter politics stemmed from his aspiration to address basic services he believed have been “neglected by the City.

“For the past years, if the City is doing their job, then I would be gladly in my farm, attending to my garden, drinking coffee, just watching movies. But sad to say, every time I go home from Manila to Cebu City—Manila boomed, Cebu City deteriorated,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz, who was also a former commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, said although he is a neophyte in politics, he has been in public service for 18 years.

“Politics is something new to me, but public service has always been in my blood,” said Ruiz.

He declared his intention to serve as mayor as both a technocrat and a bureaucrat.

Technocrats rely on technical expertise to make decisions and prioritize evidence-based solutions, while bureaucrats work within administrative systems to implement policies and manage resources.


Prior to committing to run for mayor, he identified five basic services that, he said, were being disregarded by the City Government. These are providing peace and order, health and social services, solving traffic and mobility issues, addressing garbage and waste disposal, and managing flooding and drainage.

“This is something that is very basic. This is not something that we have invented overnight. These are basic problems that had been neglected by the City,” he said.

With his background in law enforcement, he aims to make Cebu City’s streets the safest in the country.

He said ensuring a safe environment for the public accomplishes half of his job, and will be his top priority. He said this will be done by busting criminals and drug traders in the city and instilling discipline.

Ruiz said government agencies like Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, and PDEA, can expect support from him should he win.

Ruiz clarified that while he will address illegal drug problems in the city, he will employ different tactics in approaching this issue, different from former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

“Rest assured, I will be the number one champion of human rights; there will be no instance that human rights will be violated,” he said.

He said he will establish a government-run rehabilitation center, pointing out that Cebu City is the only highly urbanized city in the country that is not operating such an establishment.


On the ongoing construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) system, Ruiz expressed doubts about its sufficiency despite changes made to its plans over the past two decades.

He suggested that due to Cebu’s narrow roads, a new scheme should be implemented once the system is operational.

Ruiz proposed that since the current CBRT plan occupies 60 percent of the road, this should be made “flexible” and there should be days when roads will not be exclu­sive to shuttles and modern jeepneys, but also open to private cars.

He acknowledged that since the project is already underway as the country has already taken out a loan from the World Bank and the French Development Agency, it would not be wise to halt its construction.

“The question is, if we stop it now, who will pay the loan?... Why don’t we try it for one year and if it will not be successful, let us remove the barriers on the sides so we can still use the roads,” he said.

Ruiz, however, did not specify which barriers of the CBRT should be removed.

Not ‘Singapore-like’

Ruiz said he will keep the city’s slogan simple and use what his supporters are currently using in his campaign: “For a better and safer Cebu City.”

He said he will not follow Mayor Michael Rama’s “grandiose” campaign slogan, such as “Singapore-like Cebu City with Melbourne features,” which, he said, is far from being realized.

He also said he would appreciate it if Rama would not continue his reelection bid and support his candidacy instead.

He described other individuals who expressed their interest to run, such as Rama, Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival, and Metropolitan Cebu Water District Chairman Joey Daluz III, as “worthy opponents.” However, he said Archival could be a good running mate as his vice mayor.

Partido Cebuano

Ruiz said he will have a complete slate under the banner of “Partido Cebuano,” although he did not reveal names.

“We want the party to encompass all the aspirations, all the desires, all the dreams of the Cebuano people,” he said.

He said he will have a vice mayor, two congressmen and councilors who are “like-minded Cebuanos.”

“We wanted it to be as less political as we can. If you can observe what is happening in the city, all actions of our leaders are for politics, even as simple as a flag-raising ceremony, everything is politicized,” Ruiz lamented.

He explained he cannot, as yet, reveal names with respect to the other members of his party, as some of them are incumbent politicians.

“They are afraid to come out yet because they might be attacked by those who want to pick a fight with them,” said Ruiz. / KJF


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