I HAVE been writing a series of articles since last week about the redevelopment of the historical century-old Carbon Market. I have presented the side of the administration of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, who inked the joint venture agreement (JVA) with the developer, Megawide Construction Corp., for a P5.5 billion development, which will last 50 years and could be extended for another 25 years. I also presented the side of the opposition, Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) who opposed the redevelopment, citing defects of the JVA, claiming it’s “disadvantageous to the interest of the city.”
Vice Mayor Michael Rama, an administration ally, also raised some concerns, especially on the cultural and historical impacts of the project. But I asked why these concerns were raised only now when the JVA was already signed and all these concerns have been stipulated in the contract. In the spirit of fair play and fairness, I am printing herewith the side of Mike on the matter.
“With high regard and gratitude, Vice Mayor Mike Rama welcomes the opportunity accorded by Mr. Bobby Nalzaro, a renowned personality in print media, radio and television, to publicly air his point on the Carbon Redevelopment Project.
“In a nutshell, the action of VM Rama is purely driven on saving the Carbon Redevelopment Project from imminent collateral attacks and issues that may derail the implementation of the long-awaited development of the only Carbon Market for the people of Cebu.
“VM Rama firmly believes that both the private proponent and the current administration are more than able to explain and clarify the issues and observations thrown on the floor by members of the minority bloc of the City Council. Thus, VM Rama is not up for political posturing but a classic act of assurance that projects like Carbon Redevelopment and the delivery of public services cannot be abrogated simply because there are issues and concerns raised on the same.
“As SP Presiding Officer for the longest time, experience will tell that to resolve a certain issue posed before the collegial body only requires a little time for the honorable members to hear and clarify the same. Rather than spending time in trading barbs, the adoption of a remedial and curative approach is always a better alternative. Thus, under the circumstances, it is imperative to give the project proponent and the administration a chance to explain and clarify the issues raised. The approach adopted by VM Rama basically aims to expedite the Carbon Redevelopment project implementation by freeing the same from unnecessary burden and issues.
“Sometimes, people just fail to see and appreciate the opportunity offered before them.
Carbon Market Redevelopment: A Welcome Project and a Heritage Gift for Cebu
“Any development or infrastructure project involving and affecting Carbon Market deserves the attention and active participation of all stakeholders. History, trade, commerce, industry, culture and heritage among others converged in the place referred to as Carbon Market. A number of great and prominent Cebuano families in the field of commerce and industry started and learned their trading skills and network with the one and only Carbon Market of Cebu.
“Any proposed infrastructure for the modernization and development which will enhance the economic potential and activities of the Carbon Market together with all its stakeholders and the Cebuanos at large is always a welcome proposition and a dream project that the Cebuanos deserved and have been patiently waiting to become a reality.
“The Carbon Redevelopment Project and design must not only be sustainable and economically viable but should integrate the preservation of the historical, heritage and cultural significance of the place.”
Freeing the Project from Unnecessary and Collateral Issues
“It is in the foregoing context that Vice Mayor Mike Rama being also the Presiding Officer of the SP cannot afford to muddle the real redevelopment of the only Carbon Market in Cebu and in the Philippines with the usual image and scenario of political bickering, project railroading, corruption, overpricing, disadvantageous contract, lack of public hearing and consultation and the perceived oppression of the marginalized traders among others.
“VM Mike Rama has been very cautious and sensitive on any development projects affecting Carbon Market. As a former Mayor of Cebu City, he neither have tolerance for any delay nor allowance for any mistake in the implementation of any Carbon Market related projects which were usually muddled with the usual issues of political motives and underpinnings.”
Pro development and Quick Project Implementation
“VM Mike Rama has been pro development and for quick project implementation. Being a long time and experienced public servant, he wanted to expedite and safeguard for Cebu, the real redevelopment of Carbon Market. In so doing, he need not hide his good intentions as a public servant or shy away from legitimate issues which remained unclarified and unaddressed for quite a time until the present. In other words, he cannot let the Carbon Redevelopment Project commence just to be stopped later for failure to address a direct issue or for failing to give time for the administration to clarify the same.
“VM Rama’s action is a clear gesture of saving the Carbon Redevelopment Project from the issues that might restrain the implementation of the much-awaited project which is expected to benefit the whole of Cebu and to serve as an economic catalyst for the whole region. To suspend the groundbreaking of the same project in order to facilitate the legitimate concerns is directed to save the project and not the other way around.”