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Cebu News Digest Jan. 8, 2015: Mayor asks for dikes; council disagrees on voting definition; city ready to transfer Sinulog performance

A town mayor has asked for Capitol’s help to build dikes to prevent flooding in low-lying areas. Other mayors of towns affected by Seniang also sought help in rehabilitation. The Cebu City Government, meanwhile, extended help not only to Cebu towns affected by the storm but to 2 cities in Samar.

Here are today’s top Cebu news stories:

Mayor asks Capitol: Give us dams

Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco III asked Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III and legislators to help them build dikes in rivers to prevent floods in low-lying areas.

Davide met yesterday with mayors of towns in southern Cebu that were affected by tropical storm Seniang. When Seniang hit southern Cebu in the last days of 2014, 17 persons died, 14 of them in Ronda.

The mayors also sought the governor’s help in the rehabilitation of houses and dealing with sinkholes.

Davide said he will ask the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Cebu Provincial Engineering Office to study where they can build river dikes.

IN ARGAO. A sinkhole topples a hut after tropical storm Seniang hit the area. (Photo by Evelyn Llevado Remando)
IN ARGAO. A sinkhole topples a hut after tropical storm Seniang hit the area. (Photo by Evelyn Llevado Remando)

Sun.Star Cebu said the mayors who attended the meeting included Blanco, Raymond Joseph Calderon of Samboan, Verna Magallon of Alegria, Beatriz Caburnay of Alcantara, Teresito Mariñas of Barili and Inocentes Cabaron of Moalboal.

Sun.Star Cebu also reported that as of yesterday, 148 houses were destroyed and 449 houses damaged by Seniang in Alcantara, Barili, Dumanjug, and Ronda.

Cebu City sets aside P1.8 million to help areas hit by Seniang

The Cebu City Council yesterday approved P1.8 million as financial assistance to Dumanjug, Alcantara, Ronda, and Sibonga in Cebu, Catbalogan City in Samar and Borongan City in Eastern Samar. Each local government unit will get P300,000.

The financial assistance for Catbalogan and Boronggan will not be released yet since the resolution by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council recommended only the P1.2 million in assistance to the four southern Cebu towns.

Councilor Alvin Dizon said that although he has no objections to helping the cities of Catbalogan and Borongan, there should be guidelines on when the City can send assistance to local government units outside Cebu.

“I’m surprised! Nakakatuwa naman the City of Cebu extended help to us. It’s really a big help and it shows that the city has a big and generous heart for areas affected by the typhoon.” — Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan in an interview with The Freeman.

Issue on two-thirds vote definition stops council from overriding Rama’s veto of SRP sports hub

The question on what constitutes a two-thirds vote stopped the Cebu City Council from overriding yesterday the veto by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama of an ordinance setting aside 10.6 hectares of the South Road Properties for a sports hub.

Councilors Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Mary Ann delos Santos, Hanz Abella, Alvin Dizon, Lea Japson, Nida Cabrera, Sisinio Andales, Margarita Osmeña, Roberto Cabarrubias, Nestor Archival and Alvin Arcilla voted to overturn Rama’s veto.

But Council presiding officer and Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said one more vote was needed to override the veto, citing a 2001 DILG legal opinion. Gabuya, however, disagreed and cited a 2007 legal opinion to back him up.

The council agreed seek the legal opinion of the DILG and pending that, suspend the implementation of the ordinance

Stories:
Sun.Star Cebu: Issue on what constitutes two-thirds vote stops council from overriding veto
The Freeman: Council voting results in stalemate

SINULOG BEAT. The grandest festival in the country opens early in the morning today with a religious walk. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is prepared to transfer performances if bad weather hits the city on the day of the grand parade. (Photo by Lito Lapure used with permission from the Sinulog Foundation)
SINULOG BEAT. The grandest festival in the country opens early in the morning today with a religious walk. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is prepared to transfer performances if bad weather hits the city on the day of the grand parade. (Photo by Lito Lapure used with permission from the Sinulog Foundation)

Sinulog starts; workers ready in case of bad weather

Sinulog activities open at 4 a.m. today with the Walk of Jesus.

If bad weather hits Cebu City during the grand parade on January 18, contingents will perform either in the City Hall block in the South Road Properties or in the Cebu Coliseum, organizers said.

“This will be if worse comes to worst. The judging for the contingents will have to be transferred.” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama

Rama said the venue should accommodate at least 5,000 people. The performance will be transferred only in the event that the city will be placed under Signal No. 1 by the weather bureau.

Sun.Star CebuWhatever weather comes, Sinulog workers ready

Other stories:

Also interesting… The Freeman editorial: Raising taxes to throw away needlessly is crazy

It is difficult to understand why a city that keeps bloating its budget with unnecessary cash doleouts would have to fund those unnecessary doleouts with more taxes. The more sensible and practical thing to do would have been to scrap those unnecessary cash doleouts altogether. After all, the only purpose they really served was to win pogi points for city officials and nothing else. — Editorial, The Freeman, Jan. 8, 2015

Cebu Business Stories
Local governments told to streamline permit renewal process

Business owners in Cebu are calling on local governments to streamline the annual renewal of business permits and licenses and cut down the red tape.

Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc. president Rey Calooy said procedures in getting and renewing permits should be standardized in all local governments.

Rey Calooy. (Photo taken from Facebook page)
Rey Calooy photo taken from his Facebook page.

“Gawas sa local taxes, naa pay fees for sanitary bisan way klaro ang [garbage] collection. Every step naay bayad.” — Rey Calooy

Department of Agriculture 7 tells farmers to go organic

“There is a high demand for organic food. There is money in natural farming (because the products) command a premium price. We need to maximize this opportunity.” — DA 7 Director Angel Enriquez

Cebu Business Month organizers start finalizing events

Overall chairman Francis Dy says this year’s celebration has “Glocalized Cebu” as theme and continues last year’s efforts to help businesses prepare for the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

He said CBM will be a platform for local companies to network with local and global companies to grab opportunities when the AEC takes full affect by yearend. (Sun.Star Cebu story)

“I was hesitant to accept it. I knew that it would take up almost 100 percent of my time from the business. But I saw the sincerity and that she needed someone to help out.” — Francis Dy on being asked by CCCI president Ma. Teresa Chan to chair this year’s CBM.

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By Max Limpag

Max Limpag is a journalist, blogger, and developer based in Cebu. He started as a reporter covering City Hall in 1996. He has written on technology for various print and digital publications since 1999 and twice won the Philippine Blog Awards for technology and sports. He co-founded the new media start-up InnoPub Media.