Unity is the call

07/03/11 - Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama finally delivered his State of the City Address before a mammoth crowd including city and provincial officials led by Gov. Gwen Garcia at the Plaza Sugbo.

I was looking forward to attend the Soca and see who would be there to listen to what the mayor had to say, but my school responsibility barred me as we had Mass at the university for the first time under the School of Law and Governance at 4 p.m. last Friday.

Nevertheless, I saw to it that I would get feedback from relatives who attended and supported the mayor. I got the report when I attended the wake of my uncle, the late Miguel Rama, at his residence in the Rama Compound in Basak-San Nicolas. My youngest sister Chingbee reported to me what transpired during the speech of Mike Rama.

Not satisfied with the report I got from her and other relatives, I woke up early yesterday morning to grab a copy of CDN to get feedback from a neutral source. I saw the front page photo and was elated by what had developed. Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Young and some city council members attended the affair contrary to their initial decision not to attend.

Last Thursday I happened to drop by the office of Mayor Mike as I accompanied Rotary Club incoming president Gilbert Cabatana to the mayor’s office for official business. I saw for myself the staff preparations for the Soca and was confident that Mayor Mike’s address would go through with flying colors given his background in the private sector and training. What was most important in the mayor’s message was his admonition to the city council to work together. After all, the next election is still far off in 2013. I think this is what Cebu City residents want from their public officials.

While we welcome checks and balances in the city government, we also wish for unity among city officials especially in serving the interest of the public. We are praying that officials, while belonging to different political affiliations, will show respect for one another instead of being hostile. I think the mayor was correct in stating that before his performance in his first year in office could be graded, he should be heard first. The mayor emphasized his message of work, work, and work. I think that is what people expect from their local officials.

What prodded the city councilors to change their minds and attend the mayor’s Soca in Plaza Sugbo? I think they were left with no choice but to attend otherwise they would be left out and become irrelevant in the near future.

Perhaps they feared suffering the fate of hostile members of the former council in Mandaue City. (The entire council was annihilated in the 2010 election won by Mayor Jonas Cortes.)

The huge crowd last Friday was a clear message to politicians to work together for the welfare of the people and to set aside politics for now. And many are hoping that Cebu city officials heed the call of the people and work together now until 2013 election.

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As chairman of the Department of Political Science of the University of San Carlos, I am proud to report that the student population has increased to 395.

The dean of the College of Law also informed me that their enrollment went up as well to more than 600 students even as other law schools showed a decline. This makes a total population of about a thousand for the new School of Law and Governance, which is an upbeat development for the university’s recent merger of both departments.

Last month the law school announced through dean Alex Monteclar and assistant dean Joan Largo that starting next school year, graduates of the Department of Political Science can be admitted to the law school without an entrance examination. This makes it more challenging for the political science department to produce highly qualified students. (Inquirer)

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