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Rama conducts loyalty checks

Cebu City Hall security personnel block protesters who tried to enter the office of Mayor Michael Rama yesterday morning. The protesters call on Rama to provide solution to their problems. ALDO NELBERT BANAYNAL

CEBU, Philippines - Now it can be told. Mayor Michael Rama is doing a loyalty check among the people, who are working with him.

The mayor met with the heads of different commissions and administrative officers of every department at City Hall who he asked to update him of their duties and responsibilities.

Later in that meeting, the mayor told them that he was willing to accept their resignation letters if they cannot work with him.

Rama called the meeting last Friday and spoke for about 30 minutes to the heads of the commissions, executive directors, and administrative officers under the Office of the Mayor.

One of those who attended the meeting told The FREEMAN, on condition of anonymity, that they were told by the mayor to resign from their posts if they cannot follow his orders.

“If you are not with me, I am willing to accept your resignation. I want people whom I have trust and confidence,” the source quoted Rama.

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Most of the current executive directors in the boards and commissions under the Office of the Mayor were been appointed by former mayor Tomas Osmeña, now the city’s South District congressman.

The Office of the Mayor has more than 50 boards and commissions.

According to Rama, there are some commissions under the Office of the Mayor that will be fused so that the city government can save resources.

The mayor also said the 5,000 employees at the city hall will now be divided into two groups.

Half of them or 2,500 will be deployed to the field and in the different barangays so that basic services will be delivered to the doorsteps of the city’s constituents.

The rest will be doing the office work, Rama said.

Osmeña has criticized Rama for playing politics with the way the current mayor is running things at City Hall.

An ally of Osmeña, who asked not to be identified, said that the action of Rama only shows his insecurities.

“Ang iyang gibuhat only shows that he is insecure. He sounds irritating already. Dili ra mana karon dugay na na siya og patawag in disguise of meeting but pamolitika diay,” the insider said.

City Hall observers said Osmeña is likely to make a comeback by 2013, riding mainly on the strength of Rama’s own weakness.

The falling out sprang from several contentious issues that had the congressman and the mayor taking opposing sides.

Rama first drew the ire of Osmeña when the mayor did not invite the BO-PK vice mayor, city councilors and Rep. Rachel del Mar for the mass oath-taking for the newly elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and barangay officials, where opposition figures were invited to join the ceremony.

This was not the first crisis to hit the BOPK.

Osmeña’s public criticisms of Rama have provoked comparisons to what happened ahead of the 2001 elections, when Osmeña and then mayor Alvin Garcia first ran against each other.

Osmeña and Garcia founded BOPK and launched their political careers together, running in tandem in the elections of 1988.

Osmeña served for two terms as mayor with Garcia as his vice mayor.

In 1995, Osmeña gave up what was to be a sure third term to give way to Garcia, who won handily with Osmeña supporting him from the sidelines.

But things began to sour shortly after Garcia won a second term in 1998 and the two ended up running against each other in 2001 and 2004.

Garcia bolted BOPK and formed Kugi Uswag Sugbo (KUSUG).

Since term limits kept Osmeña from seeking reelection last May 2010, Rama, who served as vice mayor for three terms was named heir apparent.

Rama has been one of the stalwarts in the BOPK since he first threw his hat into politics during the 1992 elections running for councilor in the South District.—/NLQ

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