Wenceslao: The matter of unity

Candid Thoughts

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Gov. Gwen Garcia used to advocate for Cebuano unity or the so-called One Cebu. But that was when Tomas Osmeña was active in local politics.

The informal alliance was broken when Rama unilaterally decided to hold the Sinulog ritual at the South Road Properties or SRP, a decision that the governor opposed for many reasons.

When Rama went ahead with the plan, that meant the governor had been eased out of the decision-making process in an important event that had an impact even on the province, which is Gwen’s turf.

Then came the push for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit or CBRT by both Rama and the Department of Transportation or DOTR.

The governor was again excluded from the decision-making process so that when she got the chance to speak about it, she chose to present a view that tended to scuttle the implementation of the project.

Now Rama knows that his is not the only voice that should be listened to as far as Cebu is concerned. The conflict has prompted former mayor Tomas Osmeña to come out of his shell, he being the brains behind the project.

While many people thought that he is already too old to involve himself in local politics, Osmeña proved that he is still intellectually competent and can recover the clout that he voluntarily let go of in the past elections.

After all, if Rama still manages to stay relevant in politics, why can’t he?

After all, he, Rama and Garcia belong to one generation of Cebu leaders.

Cebu is actually at a political junction. While the older leaders are about to go out, the younger ones still need to establish themselves.

Raymond Garcia, Dondon Hontiveros, the younger Ramas, Cutie del Mar, etc. may represent the next generation of Cebuano leaders but they are not prepared to go all out. This is the reason Rama, Gwen and Osmeña can still be the forces to be reckoned with if they want to.

As for the CBRT project, it looks like the DOTr is showing it can disregard the views of Cebuano leaders if it wants to. Rama’s attempt to assert his influence over the implementation of the project was left unheeded, proving how much the clout of local leaders has dwindled as far as the National Government is concerned.

Gone are the days when the voice of local leaders is being listened to at the national level.

This proves my point that Mindanao leaders have eclipsed Cebu in national politics. We could not send even one of the next generation Cebuano politicians to the Senate. In Congress, Cebuano solons are no longer heard.

That means the “golden years” of Cebu politics are over and the younger generation of Cebuano politicians have a good dose of rebuilding to do to recover the clout Cebuano politicians once had at the national level.

One Cebu is no longer as effective a slogan as it once was. With Garcia and Rama going separate ways, a new version of Cebuano unity needs to be put in place.

As they say, new times, new ways.


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