“PUT aside politics, Mike.”
This was Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella’s response to Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who criticized the mayor for not being at the City Hall amid the increasing number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the city.
Labella has been working from home for the last two weeks after his doctor advised him to avoid crowds while he is recovering from an ear infection.
Rama, during the regular City Council session on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, said the mayor was the solution to the current Covid-19 problem.
He said it took Melquiades Feliciano, national Inter-Agency Task Force for Covid-19 implementer for the Visayas implementer, to tell them there was a problem with staff in the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Rama said he was embarrassed since Cebu City was almost “close to perfect,” but now its cases are once again going up.
“Let’s not be naive, there is something wrong,” said Rama.
“I would like to address the mayor now wherever he is, Mayor Edgardo Colina Labella, please lend me your ears. Lend me your ears. I want to be empathic to you. I am not after your position, I am not. I can wait. I can wait, but we need to do something. Please, if you think you cannot be back to City Hall, you know what to do,” he said.
As much as he wants to address the problem, Rama said, he cannot because he is only a member of the council.
“We must act... But we are only the council. What is our role? Our role is approve the budget. Our role is to set a policy,” Rama said.
Labella, for his part, said now “is not the time for bickering.”
“We have a disease to contain. We have people to help, and we have an economy to rebuild. Put aside politics, Mike. The City needs all of us to work together, my dear friend,” said Labella in a statement.
Although he is working from home, Labella said he has been coordinating with the proper agencies for the implementation of necessary measures in response to the current Covid-19 situation.
“Although I have been forced to stay at home by my doctor, I have been more productive than ever. It saddens me to hear statements coming from Vice Mayor Mike Rama, whom I consider a dear friend, that puts down our collective effort in dealing with the pandemic,” he said.
Labella also said that the recent spike was expected because of public movement during the holidays.
As of Saturday, Feb. 6, Cebu City recorded 166 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 2,043. (JJL)