Editorial: Without Malacañang’s help

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

IT WOULD be interesting to find out if Rep. Benhur Salimbangon of Cebu’s fourth district or Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano would take the cudgels for Cebu City in Congress like what Mayor Michael Rama wants them to.

Are they willing to deliver a privilege speech carrying Rama’s message that Malacañang shortchanged Cebu City in terms of providing aid?

It’s doubtful if they will do that because of two things.


One, lawmakers only take up causes that emanate from home and Salimbangon and Cayetano do not consider the city home. Two is that they won’t dare spark a conflict with fellow lawmakers, like Cebu City Reps. Raul del Mar and Rodrigo Abellanosa in the case of Salimbangon and Cebuano Sen. Sergio Osmeña III in the case of Cayetano.

That does not mean Rama was wrong in publicly airing his frustrations with Malacañang. And he was correct with his appraisal. With him as mayor and with Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino as president (add to that Mar Roxas as Department of Interior and Local Government secretary), the city has not gotten much from the National Government.

But Rama, to use a cliché, was not born yesterday. The moment his rival, former mayor Tomas Osmeña, succeeded in forging an alliance with PNoy and Roxas, he must already have known he won’t get anything from Malacañang. If the two officials snubbed Rama during their visits to Cebu, then they surely could play deaf to his requests.

Thus Rama, from the very beginning, shouldn’t have expected anything much from Malacañang considering the current setup. More so because he has a political rival who is aggressive in the pursuit of political goals.

That does not mean the mayor has no right to complain. He can, if the purpose is merely to make his constituents understand the city’s current relation with Malacañang. If he believes that by complaining Malacañang would change its stance, then he is wrong.

The mayor should instead use the current setup to motivate him to work hard to overcome the disadvantages of being outside Malacañang’s radar. Cebu City, after all, has traditionally been doing things independent of Malacañang.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 01, 2014.


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