Raymond Garcia extends hand of unity

CEBU, Philippines — Vice Mayor-elect Raymond Alvin Garcia is extending a hand of reconciliation to his rivals and calls for unity among incoming members of the 16th Cebu City Council.

 Garcia, who is currently the outgoing council’s majority floor leader, will assume a bigger role in the city’s legislative department starting on June 30 as its presiding officer.

In a privilege speech during the council’s regular session, Garcia expressed that he wanted the City Council to be for a better Cebu City under his stewardship.

“I also look forward to working with my colleagues in the city council and with my fellow candidates on the campaign trail. We all ran for office because of a common desire to serve our fellow Cebuanos,” said Garcia.

“Now that the elections are over, let us set our differences aside and work together in whatever capacity that we have been given so that we can give the Cebuanos the gift of a better Cebu City,” he added.

Majority of the composition of the incoming City Council are allies of Garcia-- 12 of the 16 regular members belong to the Barug-PDP Laban coalition. The two ex-officio members, however, are allied with the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.

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Garcia thanked his opponents former city administrator Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Franklyn Ong for “running high level campaigns that kept the discourse respectable.”

He said the Cebuanos were given three excellent choices for vice mayor, and now they can join forces in building a better city, adding that they all belong to the same team which is Team Cebu City.

Garcia also said that he is excited to be working side by side with Mayor Michael Rama, whom he described as the people’s mayor.

“It has been one of my life’s greatest honors to be your running mate and I am excited to be working side by side with you as your Vice Mayor. With you at the helm, I am certain that the best for our city is yet to come,” he said.

In his speech, the incoming vice mayor remembered the late mayor Edgardo Labella, saying that if he was still here, he could see for himself how his legacy of accomplishments has played a key role in the successes of their collective campaigns.

“Needless to say, I am still comforted by the fact that his brand of public service will continue to live on through his son, councilor-elect Jaypee Labella,” he said.

Moreover, Garcia expressed his gratitude to his parents, former mayor Alvin Garcia and Nenette for being the “impetus and inspiration” that got him into public service.

He thanked his mentors, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Mike Dino and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, for being great role models for many of Cebu’s leaders.

He also thanked his friends and supporters for being a part of his victory.

“They say, it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it also takes a village to mount a successful campaign. To my friends and supporters, thank you for being part of that village. Thank you for your hard work - the sleepless nights, the early morning handshaking and everything in between. I am blessed beyond words to have your support and dedication,” said Garcia.

Garcia assured the Cebu City residents that he will continue serving them, with him leading the incoming council.

“With utmost gratitude, I humbly accept the tremendous responsibility that has been entrusted upon me by the Cebuanos. Daghang Salamat and I will never take this vote of confidence for granted. As your Vice Mayor-elect, I will work with even greater intensity and fervor so that I may continue to deliver tangible results that uplift our lives and better our communities,” said Garcia. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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