Cebu mayor recruits bets for 2013

CEBU CITY -- Mayor Michael Rama told barangay officials of the city to aspire for higher positions and start preparing for the 2013 elections.

Rama, speaking at the 2nd General Assembly of the Barangay Councilors’ League of the Philippines (BCLP)-Cebu City Chapter Saturday night at the Waterfront Hotel, said those who want to run for higher office in 2013 can submit their names to him.

Rama said he will then decide who will be part of his lineup.

“Whoever desires (to run for higher positions), give me the names and I’ll take care of it, if you trust me. I wish you will prepare for that,” he said.

Rama said this although Representative Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district), Representative Rachel “Cutie” del Mar (Cebu City, north district), former congressman Raul del Mar and some of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) councilors sat in the audience.

In his speech, Rama also advised officials to aspire for higher positions in the local government.

“Dream higher,” he said.

The mayor said he believes the BCLP has been a good training ground for the barangay officials, particularly in building up their self-esteem and teaching them good governance.

Although he already left BOPK, Rama assured the barangay officials that he, Osmeña, and del Mar will make sure the city keeps its head above water.

“We all may have differences but we love Cebu City very much and we will not allow the city to sink. That’s very clear,” he said.

During the general assembly, Rama said the allowance the City promised to barangay captains and barangay councilors will be released before the year ends.

The mayor had said barangay captains would receive a monthly allowance of P5,000 each, while barangay councilors would get P3,000 each.

By the end of the year, the barangay captains are supposed to get a total of P60,000, while the barangay councilors will be receiving a total of P36,000.

Rama said they are only waiting for the opinion from the Commission on Audit (COA) on the legality of granting the allowances to barangay officials.

Meanwhile, Tomas said it will be good for Cebuanos if Mariano “Mimo” Versoza Osmeña, son of former Cebu governor Lito Osmeña, will run in the 2013 elections.

Tomas said Mimo has “exceptional” training and management skills. However, Tomas said if Mimo will run, it will be bad for his campaign.

“He is a novice when it comes to traditional politics,” he said.

Lito had already said his son is interested to run for public office either as governor, congressman or mayor of a major city.

Mimo, the eldest of three children of Lito and Annette Versoza-Osmeña, earned a bachelor’s degree in physics, has a master’s degree in business administration and is a fellow of the Wharton School. He reportedly does consultancy work for firms in New York, Florida, Los Angeles, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Commenting on the younger Osmeña’s political plans, Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong quipped: “The sun shines for everybody.”

Before the former governor announced his son may run for office, the talk was that Mimo was interested in the first district’s congressional seat.

“Money and a popular surname are no longer a passport to victory. The people at present will always look into how candidates have touched their lives,” Chiong said.

Chiong has served four terms as Naga mayor. He said potential candidates should also develop a close relationship with the people and treat them well.

Representative Eduardo Gullas (Cebu Province, 1st district) is on his third consecutive term and barred from seeking reelection by the law on term limits.

Among the reported contenders for first district congressman are Chiong, San Fernando Mayor Antonio Canoy and Gullas’s grandson Sam-Sam Gullas. (PDF/EOB of Sun.Star Cebu)