Ed prioritizes pressing issues

Ed prioritizes pressing issues

CEBU, Philippines — At least in the next three years, the Cebu City government will focus its energy on “pressing concerns” that include, among others, the city’s debt, flooding, traffic, garbage, peace and order, and education.

During his first State of the Nation Address yesterday, Mayor Edgardo Labella asked the City Council to support the agenda of his administration.

Labella said the city should pay the loan it incurred at 23 years ago to reclaim the area that is now known as the South Road Properties.

The city took a loan of Y12,315,000,000 or about P4.65 billion from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) and Land Bank of the Philippines to reclaim the 300-hectare SRP.

“We have ample space to exercise results-oriented action once the city is debt-free and liquid. We can begin to direct funds, for example, to our important projects especially related to mitigating the suffering of the poor in our city,” Labella said.

He said he wants to pay the debt in full.

“In the short term, what is key is the supplemental budget. With careful deliberation to preclude a bloated budget, with prudence in spending our people’s money, but also with the aim of results-oriented action, I strongly urge our Council to release the supplemental budget and to allot it for 10 priorities,” he said.

Labella said he also wants to finish the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center and Phase 2 of the Carbon Market. He said construction of the two buildings is overdue.

Construction of the new CCMC started in 2015 while construction of Phase 2 of the Carbon Market started in 2013.

Labella said the Council needs to approve additional funds to complete the construction of the two buildings.

Meanwhile, Labella said the city will create a committee that would come up with sustainable programs and actions to address the existing water problem here. The committee will  be composed of experts, engineers, and representatives of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District.

With the problem of flooding, Labella said the city will seek the help of barangay officials and work with neighboring local government units and the Department of Public Works and Highways in dredging the city’s waterways.

Related closely to the problem of flooding is the problem of garbage because trash that get into the drains clog waterways.

Labella ordered the Department of Public Services to ensure that all streets are cleaned. He also asked the City Council to pass a budget that would allow the city to outsource the collection and disposal of garbage.

To make doing business easier here, Labella called on concerned offices at City Hall to follow the law strictly in processing applications for building and business permits, stressing the need for the city to follow the digitalized system adopted by Mandaue City and Talisay City.

He said businessmen in the city are “suffering blockage of another kind” because of the current processes.

To ensure that authorities will do their job in maintaining peace and order, Labella said the city will support the city police force and would even renovate police stations with the help of private companies.

He also asked the council to allocate a budget for a new traffic system and new traffic lights.

On education, Labella said he wants for the city to provide free uniforms, shoes, and school supplies like notebooks and pens to students in public schools from Grade 1 to Grade 6.

He said the city will also pursue its plan to open a Cebu City College.

Councilor Nestor Archival, minority floor leader in the new Council, said the council will support the projects that are beneficial to the city, describing Labella’s plans as “doable.” (FREEMAN)



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