USC Hosts Eighth Klarohay Ta! 2019 Local Candidates’ Forum
The eighth and last Klarohay Ta! Local Candidates’ forum for this year’s midterm elections was held on April 29, 2019 in the Theodore Buttenbrunch Hall at the University of San Carlos (USC) Downtown Campus. Mega Cebu, in-collaboration with Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., the Commission of Elections Region VII, USC, Central Visayas Network of Non-Governmental Organizations, together with private and public sectors, as well as media partners organized the forum that aimed to engage the public with the candidates.
The first part of the forum was held in the morning and was attended by the Barug Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (Barug PDP – Laban) Cebu City hopefuls including, south district representative candidate, Atty. Jocelyn “Joy” Pesquera, north district representative candidate, Richard Yap, vice mayoral candidate, Michael “Mike” Rama, and mayoral candidate, the current vice mayor Edgardo Labella.
The mayoral candidate, vice mayor Labella sees an inclusive, hatred free governance and open to those who would like to have a better life for Cebu City. He said that sluggish leaders are part of the problem and also the main, three-headed monster, the garbage, flood, and traffic.
Richard Yap, a businessman new in politics, was asked why he chose to run. He said that he would like to stand up to the incumbent congressman for 30 years because change is now a must and he wants to see progress in Cebu City.
Yap and Pesquera, deing the district representative candidates, discussed their priority bills. Yap prioritizes on requiring motorcycle riders to undergo training, regulating or allowing alternative treatments for cancer and organ donation. As for Pesquera, she wants Cebu City to have more congressional seats.
On the new role as a vice mayor candidate, Rama said that he will be directly in-charge of activities and that they will have no hang-ups about their roles. He upholds AHEAD, promoting high tech innovation, general welfare, sanggunian employs welfare and capability of barangays.
On the topic of heritage, Labella stated that an executive-legislative plan for 2021 is needed. Meanwhile Pesquera said yes to public parks and playgrounds in every barangay.
On the topic of education, Labella proposed on the establishment of Cebu City College, then free school materials and uniforms to be distributed to elementary students. Education is also one of Yap’s advocacies.
On the topic of water management, Labella supports the construction of rainwater catchments and not opt to temporary solutions. He suggested that a committee must be created to be creative in studying surface water for the establishment of dams and pipelines. Rama hinted on the refusal of the Cebu City mayor to join Mega Cebu, emphasizing the need for cooperation in solving these problems. He said that the solutions need humility of city hall leaders to cooperate with other local government units (LGU) and execute plans. Pesquera looked on the development for barangay-level catchment basis and on the long-term solution which is to harvest rainwater. Yap seeks for new technology solutions such as filtration.
On traffic system, Labella pushed on national project of light rail transit (LRT) in metro cebu, as for bus rapid transit (BRT), it is doubtful mainly because of the narrow roads. The costly road acquisition was also taken into account of Mega Cebu cooperation; he said that Cebu cannot be isolated from Metro Cebu. Rama dismissed flyover constructions since Cebu is a heritage city, instead citingthe funding of road widening, flared intersections and mass transits as a possible solution. He added that BRT is long delayed in execution, and unity in the whole of Cebu province is needed in metro management. Pesquera recommended sponsoring a bill that will set the subway rail system in motion, and integrate traffic management. She said that underground development must take place to utilize these spaces and alternative roads should be opened. On BRT, she proposed that the city ordinance should put bus stops on public utility jeepney (PUJ) stops. Yap agreed on the dismissal of flyovers as solution and, stated that LRT of a national government would start in 2019 thus, forward planning is needed.
On garbage disposal and management, Labella talked about massive dreading of waterways in the first one hundred days, involve barangays, and a 24-hour garbage collection. The garbage collection could be divided into two; from nine in the evening to dawn using big trucks, and in the morning utilizing the barangay trucks. His long-term solution proposal is a waste energy plant. Rama said that incineration could not be all negative and cited that it is being used abroad. Pesquera focused on plastic ban and recyling plastics. As for the area of garbage, Pesquera stated that there is a need to amend clean air act to allow incineration, supporting Rama’s claim. She also suggested passing a bill that would provide standards in establishment of garbage transportations as well as the establishment of material recovery facilities. Yap too looked on recycling plastic and waste-to-energy solution.
On the promotion of candidates resulting into posters being littered around the city, Labella defended himself, he said that his posters are within legal sizes, and using walls and fences are not prohibited so he has not violated any rules. Rama and Pesquera said that a clean-up would happen after the election, and he mentioned that incumbents started these and other candidates just followed. Yap stated he prefers social media as a medium of promotion though he has a few posters around the city.
On Duterte’s foul language, Rama stated “leave it to God.” Labella preferred to not give any advice and believes that Duterte enjoys the popularity.
On war on drugs, Labella thinks that it is not extrajudicial killings as those who were killed were drug pushers fighting back, and that the people supports the president. Rama emphasized on strengthening the five pillars of justice and helping the programs that solve this issue while Pesquera said that there is a need to improve the quality of life so that people would not turn to drugs. Yap stated that the problems are being addressed in the best possible way.
On healthcare, Labella looks on the future of a fully functional Cebu City Medical Center including dedriatic ward for senior citizens, focusing on mental and social well being, and not just on physical. As well as ambulances and barangay doctors who would also be available.
On the matter of urban poor, several issues were discussed. On the flooding despite light rainfall, Rama said the he will lead with Councilor Joel Garganera in clearing clogged waterways, targeting building owners and the rich ones that encroach, the informal settlers would then follow. On projects for informal settlers, he would integrate them and build tenements for those who were removed from creeks, and will continue on-site reblocking like in Lorega, Cebu. Labella’s take on this was a proposal of vertical 4-story tenement housing for the “aspiring sectors” and on-site relocation. Yap also advocates on socialized housing.
To conclude the forum, the Bugsay, as the symbol of bayanihan spirit and cooperation among LGU was then signed by the candidates to support Mega Cebu.