New councilors say they know the Local Gov’t Code

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

THEY do read the Local Government Code.

They may be new councilors but they are not new in government.

The first-term Cebu City councilors belied the mayor’s claim that they have not read the Local Government Code as they are new in the Council.


Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama made a statement that perhaps the councilors have not been reading the Local Government Code, which was enacted to provide a guidelines of the power of the local officials in manning their government units.

He made this statement because of what he deems as questionable ordinances passed by the Council.

Most of the new councilors were former barangay officials.

“I’m not a lawyer but the Local Government Code was my Bible, my kodigo (guide) since I was a barangay official,” said Councilor Nida Cabrera. She was the chief of Barangay Luz for 13 years, where the barangay reaped several awards in terms of its best practices.

In 2009, Barangay Luz was awarded the Galing Pook Award, a national recognition, and in 2010, it won the outstanding barangay development council in Cebu City.

Councilors Alvin Arcilla and Noel Wenceslao wanted to ask Rama what part of the Local Government Code they violated.

“What section because I will answer him,” said Arcilla, another first term councilor but is not new at being elected official of a local government. He was barangay captain of Talamban for eight years and Sangguniang Kabataan chairman for three years.

Rama believes the Council has overstepped their boundaries in a few ordinances and resolutions passed.

Among those is the ordinance imposing moratorium on the demolition at Citicenter Complex penned by Councilor Alvin Dizon, a first-time councilor.

Dizon explained that the ordinance is meant to protect the interest of the urban poor and it is not permanent. The moratorium is only good for six months.

For Arcilla, the Council is also a collection of ideas. If the majority thinks that the executive’s decision is not right then the Council, through majority decision, can use its power to check and balance for the chief executive to make an efficient implementation of the law.

He may be a new councilor but Arcilla said he has been in the shoes of the local chief executive, as well as council member when he was barangay captain of Talamban.

Wenceslao said as a barangay captain for 13 years he has an understanding of how the Local Government Code works.

For Dizon, he may be a first time elected official but he taught Local Government Code at the University of Southern Philippines.

He was with the non-government organization Center for Participatory Governance, which has also mastered the Local Government Code.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 03, 2013.

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