Youth for Leni-Cebu decry Rama’s ‘partisan politics’

·4 min read

A YOUTH group in Cebu supporting the candidacy of presidential candidate Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has accused the Cebu City Government of playing “partisan politics” in the granting of permits for campaigns and other political events in the city.

In a statement posted on the Youth for Leni-Cebu Facebook page on Monday, April 18, the group questioned why Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama allowed the holding of a “Unity Walk” for supporters of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM) and vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio in several areas in Cebu City on Sunday, April 17, 2022, while Robredo’s supporters were blocked from holding the same activity in the same routes.

The group referred to the recently concluded PinkHimamat walk in uptown Cebu City on Saturday, April 9, 2022, which was led by Robredo’s daughter Aika.

“We, the youth and organizers of Pinkhimamat, do not condone what is looking like a political accommodation by Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama to the UniTeam. This is evident in the Unity Walk which took place yesterday, April 17, in the same venues we were denied usage of,” the group said.

Both the UniTeam walk and PinkHimamat involved fun walks of supporters in uptown Cebu City.

The Unity Walk of UniTeam started at 6 a.m. at the Capitol grounds and ended at 11 a.m. at Plaza Independencia on Sunday.

Rama supports the BBM-Sara tandem in the May elections.

Blocked

The group claimed PinkHimamat was blocked several times by the Cebu City government despite their saying that this was a youth event with Aika with no local politicians sharing the stage with her.

In their statement, the youth said the PinkHimamat organizers were told that no political events were allowed or permits to be issued for fun walks involving government-run centers like Plaza Independencia, Fuente Osmeña and Cebu City Sports Center, which decision they followed.

The group said the Cebu City Sports Commission initially approved their application to use the streets along Osmeña Blvd., but later informed them of a “possible revocation” of consent for the use of the streets for their fun walk, allegedly on Rama’s instruction.

“When we requested for a written copy of such, the City Sports Commission relented and issued a permit for the fun walk provided we occupy one lane as directed by Citom (CCTO) and redirect toward SWU Phinma-again, not in any government center, Mayor Rama reiterated,” the group said.

“This is not against the UniTeam crowd. It could have been any other party or organization today. This instead is about what the power of the incumbent in government can do. The vigilance required in our advocacy is beyond colors. We are manifesting respect for everyone’s freedom to exercise their beliefs,” the group added.

Rama’s response

On Tuesday, April 19, Rama denied any “political accommodation” in granting permits for rallies and other political activities.

Rama said he would like to apologize for any miscommunication or misinterpretation that happened.

Rama said he rejected the request of local organizers of the BBM-Sara UniTeam to conduct a political rally inside the Plaza Independencia.

The mayor said no more major political activity will be held inside any parks, plazas or sports complexes in the city after what happened during the Arat na Cebu! concert held at the Cebu City Sports Center last March 26, which resulted in fainting and other injuries to the spectators, said Rama.

Rama said all major political activities can only be held at the South Road Properties.

Leni-Kiko rally

Meanwhile, local police and traffic officials of Mandaue City are coordinating with organizers ahead of the Ceboom! grand rally to be held near Parkmall at the corner of Ouano Ave. and C.D. Seno St. in the North Reclamation Area on Thursday, April 21.

Vice President Robredo, her running mate Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and the Leni-Kiko slate will appear at the rally.

Lt. Col. Franco Rudolf Oriol, spokersperson for the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO), told SunStar Cebu they had implemented initial security preparations following a meeting with organizers Monday but were still finalizing their security and traffic plans.

Oriol said they will initially deploy around 160 police officers from MCPO at the venue to secure the activity and an additional 50 officers from the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas.

Around 50 civilian force multipliers will also be deployed at the venue.

Edwin Jumao-as, executive director of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue City, said they are also finalizing the roads where traffic will need to be rerouted just before the activity begins. (JKV, BBT, IRT)

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