AFTER several hits and misses, it looks to me like both the administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) team sent to the city by President Rodrigo Duterte finally have a grasp of how to deal with the coronavirus disease 2019 or Covid 19 cases here. The problems encountered early on--which are mainly organizational--seem to have been ironed out.
One major development, I should say, is the appointment of Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera to a bigger role in the effort. Don’t be fooled by titles like “deputy chief implementer for the IATF Emergency Operations Center.” Garganera has simply been designated as retired general Melquiades Feliciano’s man Friday in Cebu City. Feliciano is chief implementer of the IATF efforts in Central Visayas.
Why Garganera? I don’t know the dynamics in the city’s effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus being a mere fence-sitter but somebody surely made the correct suggestion. I say this is not about Garganera having been a Covid-19 survivor. I say this is about Garganera’s leadership qualities and work ethic.
That is why I said before that the arrival here of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Feliciano and other IATF people was the jolt that the Labella administration needed especially on the matter of running an organization. And appointing the correct person to an important position is an important aspect of making an organization run smoothly.
This should be a learning experience for the mayor. Perhaps, when we settle back to normalcy, among his first acts should be a review of the bureaucracy and a revamp. An organization consists both of structure and personnel. Are improvements needed to the organizational structure he inherited from former mayor Tomas Osmena? And did he appoint the best personnel to make that organization run smoothly?
Both the City Hall organizational structure and personnel were so tested by this Covid 19 crisis that it would not be difficult for the mayor to pinpoint the weaknesses in the structure and personnel of the organization he is leading. A revamp should be held in order to smoothen the operation of the City Hall bureaucracy. His decisions should be made devoid of sentimentalism this time around.
Garganera has always possessed both daring, creativity and initiative—important characters that I should say are lacking in the Labella administration. But there are many other leaders in the mayor’s political organization that possess those attributes. The problem seems to me like the mayor has difficulty finding those so-called diamonds in the rough.
Admittedly, Osmena is superior to Labella in this regard. In fact, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan benefited from it when he absorbed to the city hall some of Osmena’s people. I can cite my friend, City Councilor Alvin Dizon, as another diamond hidden in the city hall organization—but he is with the Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan.
The point, though, has been made and the mayor should learn from it.