Editorial: City projects in need of funds

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Friday, February 21, 2014

IS CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama biting more than he can chew?

Aside from the construction of a new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) along Natalio Bacalso Ave., the mayor is pushing for the improvement and development of Carbon Market in Barangay Ermita. Those are major projects that need ample funding and the support of the city council.

For the CCMC alone, the city needs more than P1 billion. The Carbon market projects include the development of Warwicks Barracks, which was hit by fire weeks ago and the reconstruction of Unit II that burned down in 1990. Those need millions of pesos or even another billion to realize.


Of the two, the CCMC project is more urgent. A fund raising drive for it has generated around P10 million while the city has received pledges from foreign and local entities. But these aren’t enough.

The mayor can’t rely on a city council dominated by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), which may block inclusion of allocation for the project’s expenses in the city’s budget. The Department of Health (DOH) 7 had said last year that the National Government may give P500 million for the project, but it has turned out to be a mirage.

Or that was what Rama found out in a budget dialogue with National Government representatives a few days ago. It turned out that nothing was earmarked for CCMC in the 2014 national budget. The city may yet get the assistance, but only in the 2015 budget.

The reality is that there will be much politicking during that time, which is the year before the 2016 elections. Rama is not with the administration party. His political rival, Tomas Osmeña, is, and he seems determined to use that connection to make Rama’s life miserable.

The mayor is therefore faced with a non-cooperative city council that may not allocate funding support and a National Government that may deny him his request for assistance.

Despite these setbacks, the mayor is determined to pursue the projects, and may begin the demolition of the old CCMC structure a week or so from now. Will that determination work? Or will it result in the projects non-completion?

That remains to be seen.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 21, 2014.


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