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Cebu News

In Cebu City Singapore dream realized if all investments proceed

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  A vision of a Singapore-like Cebu City is not far-fetched if all investments from the private sector will be realized, lawyer Jerone Castillo, special assistant of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, said.

Castillo said that in development, local government units do not necessarily have to rely on local taxation but can mix funds.

“If you look at the mayor, he is tapping all resources to create a Singapore-like Cebu City… he went to Malacañang because now, he should be getting a fair share of national resources, taxation subsidies… and secondly, he went into an investment blitzkrieg, funding from the private sector because we are a capital-driven country… we bring in these investments from the private sector, the vision of a Singapore-like Cebu City is not far-fetched,” Castillo said.

Castillo said Rama’s recent visit for investment promotion in Manila is just the beginning.

“With the first singular step that he (Mayor Rama) did in Manila, we are just starting… we do not limit at three hundred billion so to speak,” Castillo said.

Businessmen have expressed their interest to invest in MRBs, a solar farm with greenhouses, a 30-megawatt waste-to-energy plant, transportation services, integrated transport terminal at SRP, agricultural development for the highlands, a bus system, and a university.

“With all these commitments, ma-change gyud ang nawng sa City of Cebu… ma-change… and we call it transformational governance,” Castillo said.

Singapore, for example, is not what it is today if not for the vision of Lee Kuan Yew, its former prime minister, Castillo said.

“Like when Singapore started, it was not like that, but because of a vision of a leader, which is a similar vision that we have with Mike Rama, we can change the entire landscape of the City of Cebu… we just hope and pray that, God bless all our efforts, because matud pa niya, and he shares it with the group, it is not for him, but for the generations come,” Castillo said.

Architect Yumi Espina, now the city planning officer, for his part, also shared that Rama is a “very inclusive” mayor and investors are receptive after seeing the latter's sincerity.

“I am new here as the city planning officer… and in the short time that I have been here, I’ve noticed the mayor… how he works, that is very revealing to me now, that he is a very inclusive mayor, very welcoming… Pila to ka investors among giadto, he was begging, walay uwaw-uwaw… very big investors… and they were very receptive because they saw the sincerity of this mayor,” Espina said.

Aside from the private sector, Espina said they are also expecting the national government agencies to also pour in projects and funding to Cebu City after Mayor Rama told President Bongbong Marcos for the NGAs to cooperate, and coordinate with the government of Cebu City.

An initial discussion has already taken place with some national government offices as well.

With both the government and private sector showing support to Rama and Cebu City’s vision of becoming Singapore-like, Espina said, what the city needs is public support.

“Mayor Rama needs your help,” Espina said tells Cebuanos.

Meanwhile, Atty. Collin Rossel, said the executive order forming a special board of a Singapore-like- Cebu City is almost done.

“These things cannot be put into proper places without a proper organization so that’s the very reason why the mayor mentioned that there will be a public-private, corporate-like entity which will be adopted and created thru an executive order…It’s not necessarily a registered corporation... but it’s just a corporate-oriented and corporate-like entity,” Rossel said. – JMO (FREEMAN)

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