Rama gets audience with Duterte at last
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - January 30, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama was finally given the opportunity to raise his concerns to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Rama was invited at the Malacañang Palace on Monday, January 27, 2020.

He said he was able to talk to Duterte about four matters—environment, road clearing, 500 years of Christianity, and a confidential matter.

The vice mayor, who is the chair of the City Council's Committee on Environment, said he told the president that he wanted to have a hand in addressing the environmental concerns in the city.

Rama said he also lauded Duterte with his road clearing directive.

However, he stressed that something must be done for the sidewalk vendors who were displaced due to the road clearing operations.

"I have my suggestion nga butangan nato nag lugar diha sa Osmeña Boulevard ug sa Colon gani ang moabang kay city government," said Rama.

He said he suggested to the president that a structure should be put up where the displaced vendors can sell their wares. The structure can contain an escalator, an ordinary type which is not expensive, and an industrial elevator that can be used by the people, especially the persons with disability (PWDs).

Rama said the structure can be used in a rotation manner so that there is fairness.

Another concern was regarding Duterte's pronouncement that there is no need for the celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.

"You know Mr. President, dili man mahimo nga dili mo-celebrate sa Christianity sa Cebu... naa man dinha ang Sto. Niño," Rama told Duterte.

"Okay siya... Pasabot, you don't have to be worried about his position didto sa Naga," he said.

Rama said he has been contacting Senator and former presidential aide Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go since September 2019 to help him have an appointment with Duterte because he has some things to discuss with the president.

It was in 2016 and 2017 when Rama was publicly named by Duterte as among the narco-politicians in the country reportedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

Since he was first named in 2016, Rama has been connecting to several officials to meet and talk to the president to clear his name, but failed. He said he also visited offices such as Philippine National Police, PDEA, among others.

Rama has since denied the allegations, saying he has been in public service for over 24 years and has never been involved in illegal drugs.

Despite his name in Duterte’s list, no case has been filed against Rama.

Moreover, Rama also shared that before his meeting with Duterte ended, he gave him his little Sto. Niño.

Their encounter ended with a photo, which was taken by Go. That photo was posted on the vice mayor's Facebook page.  KQD (FREEMAN)

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