For ‘anti-poor’ label: Dizon ‘barking at the wrong tree’ – Rama

May B. Miasco/NSA (The Freeman) - February 12, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - “Napildi lang ang ordinance, anti-poor na? Unsa nang kalakiha?”

This was Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s response to Councilor Alvin Dizon’s tagging of the executive department as “anti-poor” after his proposed ordinance that seeks to impose one-year moratorium on city-ordered demolitions failed to get support despite two attempts.

“Nganong napildi man ang ordinance? Tungod kay nilapas sa national law, ayaw gamita ang anti-poor kay dili na mao… Dili sila magpataka. They are barking at the wrong tree (sic) declaring this administration as anti-poor,” Rama added.

A lawyer by profession, Rama said a local measure should not contravene existing national law, the reason he declined to sign Dizon’s measure the first time it was introduced.

Rama, who was just reinstated to his post after a 60-day suspension, also defended Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella who was also criticized for rejecting the proposed ordinance during his stint as the acting mayor.

“It’s not that the acting mayor doing the veto of the ordinance. He is only bringing the rule of law that a national law can never be subordinated by an ordinance. There is a saying (that) plenary legislative power is absolutely lodged in Congress and the LGU through the council is not Congress,” Rama explained.

Rama further said that the one-year moratorium being sought by Dizon will only restrain the city from advancing infrastructure projects.

“You don’t stop development. The local government unit has responsibility to let just whoever is coming in to follow the zoning (requirement)… (You don’t lock the government) because the government has the responsibility in exercising police power so that order, safety, security and health can be extended to its constituency,” he said.

City Administrator Dr. Lucelle Mercado also defended the executive department, saying it is “unfair” to be called “anti-poor.”

“It’s not fair to people working so hard going out of their way, working on Saturdays and Sundays and even on holidays, overtime and not even filing overtime for that but still working until the wee hours of the evening and then they say there are inadequate in giving service to the people?” she said.

Mercado felt disturbed by Dizon’s claims as she recognized the efforts of the city’s Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor headed by Collin Rosell.

“I challenge them even people from the council, anybody I challenge them to join our DWUP personnel and staff that goes out to the field really attending to the needs of these people who are the aspiring sector and in order for them to see the sacrifices on how difficult it is for them,” she added.

Dizon criticized Rama’s administration for conducting demolitions in several barangays allegedly without providing proper and adequate relocation site for the affected families.

This prompted him to draft the ordinance.  The councilor said a budget of P750 million was allocated for housing programs in 2012 to 2015, but only over P136 million or 18 percent of the total allocation was used.

Dizon further said that at least 319 families or 1,600 individuals in the city were displaced after their own structures were demolished.  (FREEMAN)



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