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More votes than expected

/ 07:43 AM December 22, 2013

Last Wednesday the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in Cebu City and Cebu province elected a new set of officers. The city election was expected to be hotly contested as a proxy war between incumbent Mayor Mike Rama and Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagon (BO-PK) leader Tommy Osmeña.

The result was beyond expectations as Philip Zafra of barangay Tisa won over BO-PK candidate Manuel Guanzon by a mile, 53 to 22.

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In the province, Tining Martinez ran unopposed and won the ABC federation presidency. My high school classmate Joeyboy Holganza did run for reelection to preserve the unity of the group.

In Zafra’s case, he expected 42 votes but got more, which shows that Team Rama is gaining support among city barangay officials while BO-PK is losing its grip.

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What was also surprising was that all of Zafra’s candidates won handily in the election. I think the people have grown tired of highly partisan politics and obstructionist council members who block the mayor’s programs because he is not with BO-PK.

I think the poll results serve as a warning to BO-PK councilors to get their act together and start showing constructive support for the mayor’s programs or else suffer the fate of the previous Mandaue City Council in the coming 2016 election.

The people gave them a chance but they have disappointed them by objecting to all programs of the mayor.

For one they believe in the propaganda of their master Tommy Osmeña that the Cebu city government is bankrupt, spending funds left and right.

But they forget that the situation today is brought about by the huge loan that Cebu City took out to finance the South Road Properties, which sacrificed many basic services for the people. The City Council’s approval of a reduced 2014 budget submitted by the mayor belies Osmeña’s assertion.

Mayor Rama is trying his best to provide services that were not given by his predecessor because of SRP loan payments that have ballooned to 6 billion.

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The Department of Health warned against building hospitals near bodies of water, an advice that will affect plans to build the new Cebu City Medical Center at the South Road Properties.

I don’t know where DOH is coming from in this issue. If this guideline exists, why did it allow Chong Hua Hospital and the University of Cebu Medical Center to be built at the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City? The Department of Health was quiet when these two private hospitals started construction.

I think the DOH should explain its position and show proof that a law does not allow the construction of hospitals in a reclaimed area or else they could be ignored by the city government as an obstruction of its grand plan and become an instrument of partisan opposition that wants to bar Mayor Rama from disposing of SRP lots.

The ad hoc committee on the CCMC project has decided to go to the old site and develop it into a sprawling place with some major changes that would go with the times.

I am happy with the fast and innovative ways that the leadership of the Care CCMC movement is taking to address the obstacles.

Mayor Rama is very lucky to have the support of professionals who are above partisan politics and keep foremost in mind the welfare of the people of Cebu City.

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