New city admin vows to deliver

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DR. LUCELLE Mercado admits she has little background on local government and knows little about how Cebu City Hall is run.

But Mercado, 59, is confident that she has what it takes to get the job done.

“I admit I’m really new…In short, wala pa kaayo koy hanaw pagprimiro (I don’t know much), because I’m not trained to do this…But being a good soldier, gitahasan man ko so (I’ve been tasked to do this). I will really do my best to perform. It entails a lot of hard work. It’s a big job, and I’m ready for it,” she told Sun.Star Cebu.


Before being appointed as the first female city administrator, Mercado led several commissions and bodies in City Hall, which, she said, helped her prepare for her new post.

Considered the alter ego of the mayor, Mercado will act as “manager” of City Hall. She will help implement the mayor’s programs and vision, and will coordinate with all the other departments of the City Government.

The prospect of helping Rama realize his vision for Cebu City excites Mercado, but at the same time, she worries about not being able to deliver.

“Honestly, ganahan kaayo ko sa trabaho. Nalingaw gyud ko on my first day (Monday) because the job is challenging. My only fear is dili ko maka perform, and kinahanglan naa gyud koy agi (I like the job. I had fun on my first day of work. My only fear is that I would not be able to deliver. But I have to perform well),” she continued.


Mercado also admits being “very close” to Rama and that she and her husband, a distant relative of the Ramas, are active political supporters of the mayor.

But more than having the mayor’s trust and confidence, she believes her more important qualifications are diligence, and the willingness to learn and serve the public.

“It’s not fair to say that I got the job because we’re close to him. Of course it’s a factor... It’s true that I have his trust and confidence, and that’s because he sees that we’re here to serve. We don’t have a hidden agenda or political ambition. We’re just here to help the mayor,” she said.

Her husband, Rene Mercado, was appointed by Rama as Metropolitan Cebu Water District board chairman.


Though she has long given up her medical practice so she can take care of her three children, Mercado said her background in medicine will help her in her new job.

“Being a doctor, I know patience and I know hard work… I’m very willing to study.

I find that my fondness for reading helps because. There’s an avalanche of information that I have to study and observe. It’s not enough that I listen, I have to research and read over and over again,” she said.

She said that it also helps that she has been friends with the mayor for a long time, because she is well-acquainted with the direction of his administration and his idea of public service.

On her second day at City Hall yesterday, Mercado attended meetings with department heads, met with sidewalk vendors, sat down with members of the media and checked on the progress of some projects.

Other jobs

She will continue to head the Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board, the Garbo Asenso Sumbanan Alyansa, the Task Force Cancer of Cebu City, the Local Health Board, Liquor Licensing Commission, the Accelerated Social Amelioration Program of Cebu City and the Cebu City Nutrition Council.

Mercado is determined not to let her posts, and the authority attached to them, get to her head.

“It’s never about the position, it’s about the job. At the end of the day, it’s only my performance that will matter,” she added.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 05, 2014.

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