Cebu News

2025 local elections: Yogi presents self as ‘alternative’ bet

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — First-time Cebu City mayoral aspirant Yogi Felimon Ruiz yesterday said Cebuanos to “recycle garbage, not politicians,” but added that he would welcome the endorsement of former mayor Tomas Osmeña and current mayor Mike Rama, if ever.

“I don’t need to deny it anymore, yes I am running for the post of…mayor of the City of Cebu,” he said during The Freeman’s online talk show “Hot Seat” hosted by news editor Fred Languido.

Ruiz briefly served as Bureau of Customs (BOC) acting commissioner from July 2022 to February 2023. Prior to that, he was the head of the BOC Enforcement & Security Service for almost five years and as a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency regional director for seven years.

He said, he is a true-blue Cebuano, growing up in Brgy. Quiot, Cebu City and later on living in Brgy. Mabolo, Cebu City and briefly in northern Cebu town of San Remigio.

He said that being a teenage dad pushed him to work while studying and then getting lucky enough to work with mentors who molded him to what he is now.

“I have the opportunity to serve under very, very influential mentors…(who) taught me so much how to properly run an office, implement policies, and properly craft proper strategies in running an office,” Ruiz said.

He said perseverance, determination to never give up despite the adversity, and working as if there is no tomorrow paved his way up the ranks.

He also said that being based in Manila made him realize that while many cities in Luzon were continuously progressing, Cebu City, on the other hand, was “deteriorating.”

That prompted him to decide that he would run for mayor in the 2015 elections.

“Panerbisyo, wa man tay pagtagad…. Provide first the basic services to your people and everything else will follow—investments, business people will come…. Napabayan (ang) waste (management), traffic, flood control and drainage, health and social services, peace and order,” he said.

He urged the people to choose wisely by not picking the old guards in the coming elections.

“Let’s recycle our garbage…mag-recycle tas atong basura, but let’s not recycle our politicians,” he said.

He said, though, that he spoke with Osmeña on his political plans.

“Mayor Tom said, ‘Yes go ahead, everyone has the free will to do what they want.’ Categorically, he told me, ‘I cannot endorse you’,” Ruiz said.

Osmena is endorsing City Councilor Nestor Archival to be Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan’s standard bearer in the 2025 elections, with him (Osmena) as candidate for vice mayor.

Ruiz said that if ever he gets chosen as mayor and with Osmeña as his vice mayor, he would sit down with him for a “heart-to-heart talk.”

“When we reach that ‘bridge’, I have to talk to him first. Mag-heart-to-heart sa mi…. I want to provide a new brand of politics. Let’s review…not just lip service,” he said.

If ever he gets elected, he said he would do away with Mayor Rama’s “Singapore-like Cebu City with Melbourne features” by focusing on “providing the best service to the Cebuanos.”

“Unya na ta anang mega projects not in line with the time. Unya na ta anang Singapore-like…, you are short-changing the city…. Let’s solve first the five basic problems, provide the best peace and order. Investors will come in if we have a safe place,” Ruiz said.

He admitted to receiving support from the national level and from society’s different sectors, but refused to disclose any names.

Right now, he said, he would be an independent candidate, with his political party being “the whole city of Cebu”, after missing to beat the deadline in having a political party registered with the Commission on Elections.

Ruiz also said he has a complete lineup but would only reveal who his companions ae in a press conference later on. He only said that half of them are politicians, including incumbent barangay captains, highly esteemed individuals, businessmen, and people from non-government organizations.

He, however, assured that everyone in the lineup is aligned with his vision “for Cebu City’s healing.”

“Our vision is to give the best service to the people of the city of Cebu…. We will be making Cebu City a world-class city, kanang makaingon ang ubang nasud ba, we want to be ‘Cebu City-like’.   Singapore-like? We are just wasting our time dihang dapita,” he said.

And if he does become mayor, he vowed to continue unfinished projects.

“Daghang proyekto wa pa matiwas—nindoton ang mga kadalanan, safe para sa mga kabataan. Unya na ta anang mga butang nga magdal’ag kasamok. Gigastohan na na…(with) taxpayers’ money,” Ruiz said. (CEBU NEWS)

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