Cebu political leaders: A flock without a unifying shepherd
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 23, 2020 - 12:00am

If you ask a Cebuano today, who among the incumbent congressmen, governors, and mayors is the overall leader who commands the respect and following of all the rest; the answer is none. They’re all divided by political parties, political clans, and parochial biases. They don’t have a unifying agenda. They’re not bound by a covenant to push Cebu in the social, economic, political and other spheres of human development. Their disunity results to less development for Cebu.

In the old days of Cebuano greatness and glory, there was a Don Sergio Osmeña Sr., Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Serging Osmeña, and Ramon Durano who pushed the Cebuano agenda. When I was a young boy getting interested in Cebu's political landscapes, I witnessed how the Nacionalista Party led by Don Ramon Durano of the old first district was always in caucus with Congressman Ed Kintanar of the old fourth district representing SAAD or Sibonga, Argao, Alcoy and Dalaguete. And also with sixth district's Don Maning Zosa , representing the towns of Ronda, Dumanjug, Barili, Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan and Toledo. Don Ramon Durano was also allied with Tereso Dumon who represented the seventh district which is now the fourth district, except for a few towns.

The old fifth district, which was then controlled by Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Don Miguel, and Don Manuel Cuenco (later by Tito Calderon, father of Peter John Calderon and by a fishing magnate named Sol Abines), extended from Boljoon, Oslob, Santander, Samboan, Ginatilan Malabuyoc, Alegria, Badian, Moalboal, and Alcantara. Today's first district was the old third district, and today's sixth district was the old second district lumped together with Cebu City, and Mactan, with a few exceptions. The second was the bailiwick of the Osmeñas. But he was surrounded by Durano forces. That’s why Serging lost the presidency and even lost Cebu Province because Durano, Kintanar, Zosa, and Dumon all worked to defeat him and let Marcos win. Serging only won in the second and the third districts, from Cebu City to Carcar.

The Cebuano leaders today are fragmented and each of them has his or her agenda. There’s no Cebu Agenda.

There is no Cebu Agenda. There is no overall leader who unifies them. Congressman Eddie Gullas of the first district is NP. Willy Caminero of the second is NUP, Pablo John of the third is NUP, Janice Salimbangon of the fourth is PDP Laban, Duke Frasco of the fifth is Lakas, Lollipop Dizon of the sixth is PDP Laban, Peter John Calderon of the seventh is NPC. Paz Radaza of Lapu-Lapu City is Lakas.  Governor Gwen is PDP Laban. Vice Governor Junjun Davide is LP. Mayor Edgar Labella is PDP Laban. Vice Mayor Mike Rama is UNA. And so, what is the unifying group? Even One Cebu is not supported by majority of the members of Congress.

Why don't the honorable men and women come together and draw broad principles to promote Cebu and its component cities as well as the chartered cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Cebu? Why can't they set aside their differences and formulate a long-term strategic plan for our province and cities? They attend congressional sessions and do their own thing separately. Thus, Cebuano leaders don’t have national impact anymore. There’s no Cebuano in the Senate, in the Cabinet, or in the Supreme Court. We aren’t like the Solid North, the Ilocano Bloc, or the Mindanao bloc. There is even a Visayan bloc led by Negrenses.

If we allow this current state of disarray and fragmentation, then we shall be beaten by Bohol, Leyte, Negros, and Iloilo. The Queen City of the South is being dislodged and the premier province of Don Sergio Osmeña and Don Vicente Rama will most probably be relegated to the outskirts of contemporary developments, and consigned to the footnotes of history. The proximate cause is lack of unity among our leaders. Iya-iya ug kahig. Luoy kaayo ta. Our leaders should be ashamed before the youth of today. Makauuwaw.

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