FACE-OFF: Cebu City VM bets eye infra, barangay services, education

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IT’S a three-way race for Cebu City vice mayor as Councilors Raymond Alvin Garcia and Franklyn Ong square off with urban poor leader and former Cebu City administrator Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez for the role in the May 9 elections.

Name: Raymond Alvin Neri Garcia

Age: 45

Highest educational attainment:

- Bachelor of Laws, University of San Carlos

- Masters in Business Administration, University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P)

Previous work experience:

- Two-term Cebu City councilor

- Barangay councilor, Kamputhaw

- Assistant vice president and board secretary, SunStar Publishing Inc.

1. What are the three most urgent problems in Cebu City? If elected vice mayor, how would you address them?

JUMP-STARTING CEBU CITY’S BUSINESS SECTOR, particularly the micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, because their development also ensures the city’s development through revenue collection.

URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND INCREASED LIVELIHOOD OPPORTUNITIES. Making Cebu City a great place to live in and work in, not only for the high-income earners and the middle class but also for members of the aspiring sector. Because they are the special resource that we need to run our revitalized economy.

INVESTING IN THE FUTURE, THROUGH HIGH-QUALITY AND LABOR-SECTOR RESPONSIVE EDUCATION AND TRAINING. Cebu City will, in the next couple of years, experience economic development opportunities like never before seen.

This is mainly through high-impact infrastructure projects like the third bridge, new road networks in the Hillyland areas, and the development of new business centers at the SRP (South Road Properties).

These opportunities represent new opportunities for Cebu City residents, for so long as they are able to meet the training and academic requirements of the emerging job markets.

As vice mayor, I will preside over the City Council and adopt a legislative agenda that will guarantee R.E.S.U.LT.A. through ordinances that:

  • facilitate the Recovery of the city’s economy and the health of its people;

  • aggressively enhance Education initiatives, to include the completion and operationalization of the Cebu City College and the expansion of the City’s scholarship and sports program;

  • create more opportunities for Socialized housing;

  • pursue Urban development that is sustainable and sensitive to environmental concerns and that does not sacrifice food security and agriculture;

  • generate Livelihood opportunities;

  • continue to modernize Tourism, Transportation, and Traffic Management; and,

  • advance the participation and representation of civil society organizations and people’s organizations, the youth, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, cultural minorities, and the LGBT in governance.

2. How would you describe your leadership style?

I am a firm believer in consultation, discussion and consensus building because the philosophy of Kusug (Kugi Uswag Sugbo party) is that great ideas flow from everywhere, not just from those who are in charge.

3. How do you see Cebu City 10 years from now?

The City of Cebu will be a growth center and a model for sustainable urban development for the rest of the country—complete with a vibrant and competitive business environment that is not only fair and equitable to its people but also cognizant of the Cebuano’s creativity, culture, history and natural resources—and managed via participatory and inclusive governance.

4. Who are your models in terms of leadership and why?

Former Cebu City Mayor Alvin B. Garcia, my father, and founder of Kusug not only as a party but as a movement towards development through people empowerment.

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Name: Franklyn O. Ong

Age: 56

Highest educational attainment: College graduate, University of San Carlos Batch 1987

Previous work experience:

- Barangay Councilor - Barangay Kasambagan, 2010-2016

- National President - Barangay Councilors League of the Philippines, 2012-2014

- Punong Barangay - Barangay Kasambagan, 2016 to present

- Association of Barangay Councils (ABC)-Cebu City president, 2018 to present

- City Councilor, 2018 to present

1. What are the three most urgent problems in Cebu City? If elected vice mayor, how would you address them?

BASIC BARANGAY SERVICES. One of things we will focus on is the basic services of the barangays. It will be the first time in Cebu City that the vice mayor will take charge not only of the legislative, but also focus on basic services of the barangays. Being in the barangay for 12 years and as ABC president, we have experienced various problems in the barangays. It is very important that our basic services are normalized.

GARBAGE. I believe we have to empower the barangays when it comes to the garbage problem because the garbage really comes from the households. The working relationship and coordination of the Barangay Ecological Solid Waste Management Committee and the Cebu City Solid Waste Management Board must be good, so we can come up with a plan to solve this problem that we can present to the executive department.

PEACE AND ORDER. We have to strengthen the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council. Peace and order in our city is important because it is connected to our economic growth. If our area is safe, more investors will come in, tourists will flock in, and there will be more opportunities for our brothers and sisters. This is something we really have to take seriously.

2. How would you describe your leadership style?

Service Beyond Colors. Napakita nato sa atong liderato isip ABC President nga mahimong muserbisyo nga walay kolor sa politika. Tanang mga proyekto nato sa ABC paingon gyud sa 80 ka mga barangay sa Cebu City. Gipakita nato ang Serbisyong Tinarong. (We show proper service.)

3. How do you see Cebu City 10 years from now?

We want to see Cebu City to be the best if not among our top performing cities in the country and a model of good governance. Our city is called the “Queen City of the South” because of our economic progress and huge potential. We want to live up to that.

4. Who are your models in terms of leadership and why?

I would say, Lee Kuan Yew. In 1961, Singapore was hit by a big fire that affected 40 hectares of residential area. After the “Bukit Ho Swee Fire,” Lee Kuan Yew orchestrated a housing development program where people were relocated to a safer and modern high-rise home. You really have to admire the dedication of Lee Kuan Yew to turn his vision into a reality. He transformed Singapore into what it is now.

Name: Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez

Age: 71

Highest educational attainment: College undergraduate

Previous work experience:

- Community organizer, Cebu Archdiocesan Social Action Center

- Founder, president, Pagtambayayong Foundation

- Chairman, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor

- Administrator, Cebu City

- Vice president, National Home Mortgage Finance Corp.

- Undersecretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government

1. What are the three most urgent problems in Cebu City? If elected vice mayor, how would you address them?

ECONOMIC RECOVERY after six years of Duterte, Covid pandemic and now war in Ukraine:

Declare a state of economic emergency.

- Provide emergency employment for the urban poor and small farmers, e.g. tree planting and growing, reduce restrictions for street vendors, micro lending of capital;

- Ease of doing business, eliminate corruption through entrapments etc., i.e., treat corruption as a serious criminal offense.

HOUSING for people facing eviction or living in homes occupied by more than one family (double-up household):

- Implement the Balanced Housing provision of the Urban Development and Housing Act, which requires developers of high-end housing to also produce social housing, i.e., house and lot projects that require an installment of only 2,000-3,000 per month;

- Access the housing fund of the national government. Presidential aspirant Leni Robredo commits a budget of 50 billion per year for social housing;

FLOODING. Since 80 percent of the rainfall comes from the mountain barangays, the water coming to the downtown areas must be slowed or reduced in the mountain areas through the following measures:

- Grow trees; protection of critical areas / slopes;

- Build gabion dams, rain catchment and reservoirs;

- Improve drainage to contain flooding;

- Craft Local Climate Change Action Plan to address Climate Emergency

2. How would you describe your leadership style?

Participatory, management by objectives, promoter of good governance.

3. How do you see Cebu City 10 years from now?

Inclusive, sustainable and progressive. A city to love to live forever.

4. Who are your models in terms of leadership and why?

Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King / PAC

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