Flooding problem: A challenge to Mayor Mike

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

From the time Mayor Mike Rama made his vision to make Cebu City Singapore-like, such a vision became the standard against which his critics or even supporters measure him daily.

Take the problem of flooding as an example. The mayor vowed to accomplish in three years what can be done in nine. Now, on his shoulders lies the heavy burden of high expectations.

Recently, we have witnessed flooding almost everywhere in the city, even if it rains only for an hour. One may assert that flooding has been with us since time immemorial, but each day we fail to address it keeps us away from getting anywhere near to what Singapore is.

Solving the flooding problem can be Exhibit A of the achievability of his vision. He hinted that no one would be untouchable in this fight. Come hell or high water, and he will do what he intends.

The local government may not have difficulty driving away the poor people living in flood-prone areas. The acid test comes when Rama meets head-on the rich and the influential, whose edifices must also be removed if we must solve flooding.

In my interview with him during my Straight to the Point radio program aired over dyHP RMN Cebu, he appeared determined. After all, we all know that if we keep the problem unaddressed nature will teach us a lesson that we will never forget when we look away.

I don’t know what pushed the mayor to articulate his grand vision. Whether there are nights he regrets saying it, we don’t know. I know that successfully solving the flooding problem can be a legacy the mayor can proudly leave behind. He must put his soul into it. He may not exactly turn Cebu into a place like Singapore though I honestly wish he could but making the flooding problem a thing of the past will be enough for many, or at least a giant step towards realizing his vision.

This early, however, some doubt his focus. His insistence on giving P50 million financial assistance to local government units in Abra seems to not speak well of the sincerity of his vision. If the flooding problems worsen, we are talking about lives at risk. Charity, his critics point out, must start at home.

Giving such a huge amount to other places while the fire victims in Barangay Punta and Barangay Quiot have not yet received their financial assistance is a puzzle to some. And aside from the fire victims, there are also “illegal settlers” who came to station dyHP RMN Cebu because they have not yet received their disturbance fees from City Hall. Worse, some question the difference in the amounts of fees received despite their being similarly situated.

I think the first step in responding to criticism of his latest move P50M for Abra is not to check who among his party mates are still loyal to him.

The greatest challenge to the mayor is how he can achieve his vision under a democratic setup, part of which is the dynamics between the legislative and the executive.


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