Kudos to Mayor Chan

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - December 8, 2019 - 12:00am

I received, the other day, a virtual rebuke over the telephone from a lady over a column I wrote recently. Without the basic courtesy of identifying herself, she brought me to task allegedly for comparing Cebu City mayor Edgardo Labella and Mandaue City mayor Jonas Cortes, which, to her, painted Cortes as a better chief executive. She was apparently referring to my article when I observed that Mandaue City did a better job of clearing the Mahiga River banks on its side than what Cebu City had done (or had not!) It was, however, my consolation to hear her say that in the near future Cebu City will be able to clear the river easements and relocate the informal settlers. By saying that, she, in effect, agreed that as of the time I wrote my article, I spoke as a matter of fact. Cortes had the correct approach to a social problem.

Confession being good for the soul, I should confess to having congratulated Cortes for what he did. Clearing the riverbanks of illegal dwellers was no mean feat specially that it was something no mayor of the past succeeded in doing. Even then, that accomplishment was, honestly speaking, just a bonus. His most distinguished achievement was in having given dignity to scores of families squatting on the Mahiga River banks by providing them their own homes. They have ceased being squatters and all indignities attached to the name. I don’t dare suggest to Labella to replicate what Cortes did, because I still remember the article reminding us that we only have one mayor and asking us not to interfere in his job with impertinent suggestions.

When the caller rang my landline, I was watching the news program of Bobby Nalzaro. From Balitang Bisdak, there was a bit of information Cebu City residents should envy if we were to compare the administrations of Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City. This was the news about the seal of good governance being conferred upon Lapu-Lapu City by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. It was reported that no other local government in the province was awarded. I don’t personally know the criteria for the award. What I learned from records of previous awardees was that the DILG was thorough in examining various parameters of excellence. If Cebu City was beaten by Lapu-Lapu City in the comparative analysis and that was why our city missed the honor, it is definitely not the fault of Mayor Junard Chan.

I read back the article that I wrote which caused my caller to be mad. In mixed Tagalog-Bisaya-English, she sounded so indignant that she forgot the elementary rules of grammar. If she also reads this article, I will ask her to read again that column. She will find out that I didn’t compare. I only described what Cortes did and doffed my hat to him. I didn’t say anything that would suggest Labella, in comparison, fared poorer. It would be unfair to do that because of the absence of standards.

Regarding the award received by Lapu-Lapu City, that can be a logical point of comparison. I now ask my caller to reflect on the implication of being conferred the Seal of Good Governance. In receiving that laurel, Chan can rightfully claim that the Seal of Good Governance is his best evidence to show Oponganons that he is doing better than any other city mayor in running the affairs of local government, Cebu City included.


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