Four essential things that can make Cebu City the queen again
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 4, 2019 - 12:00am

If Mayor Edgar Labella really wants to leave a lasting legacy to Cebu City and her citizens, he should listen to these unsolicited suggestions. If he wants to become the best city executive, as the chairman of the country's city mayors’ league, here are some sincere proposals he may want to consider: First, clean up the city immediately. Second, clean up City Hall and do it with experts. Third, clean up the police precincts, the city jail, the hospitals, and all city service-delivery agencies, including the cemeteries. Fourth, teach city personnel how to serve with courtesy and a sense of urgency and compassion.

Cebu City used to be known as the Queen City of the South, cleaner than Manila, and with a City Hall more service-oriented than Iloilo, Davao, or Cagayan de Oro. First is really for the mayor, the city administrator, and heads of frontline services to spend a week just walking around from City Hall to the Capitol, passing Magallanes, Colon, P. del Rosario, D. Jakosalem, Jones Avenue or Osmeña Boulevard and see for themselves how dirty is our city. Barangay captains should be scolded, suspended, or removed for allowing their villages to deteriorate and letting mosquitoes grow and propagate. Policemen should be disciplined for not enforcing the law. If Isko can do it, Mayor Labella can do it even better but with less fanfare and drumbeating. Let the mayor's friends who always jog and walk with him help clean up Cebu City. Now.

Next, clean up City Hall. Re-arrange the offices and furniture, put live plants and orchids and make the surroundings alive and orderly, with soft music and plenty of chairs for visitors to sit in while waiting for their papers to be processed. The city administrator should have a MWA, Management by Walking Around, each morning. The building should be repainted and the overall ambience must be clean, friendly to people and with serene atmosphere of true and urgent delivery of services. The councilors should be ashamed if City Hall is dirty, smells bad, and personnel are discourteous to people. Councilors should give enough budget to the mayor and city administrator to clean up the city hall of Don Vicente Rama and Serging Osmeña.

Then, clean up the city hospital, jails, abattoir, police stations, and all city offices and satellite units, streets, alleys, canals. Put up small gardens and monuments for the former city mayors. Manage traffic well. Put up small libraries in all barangays. Tell the barangay captains to clean up their areas or resign. The mayor should be more forceful without becoming “brusco”. It is nice to be nice, but if people need to be dressed down privately, the mayor should reprimand, scold, warn, and kick out the inept, lazy, and the corrupt. That is leadership. The mayor knows this from before when he was still with the Ombudsman.

The mayor needs an adviser who will tell him the real score, someone who doesn’t need a job, but just wants him honestly to succeed. If the mayor wants a better Cebu City, he needs to act with a sense of urgency. It’s crazy to expect a different Cebu City if we use the same strategy, the same system, and the same approach during all those years of ineffectiveness and neglect.

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