Tommy Osmeña's birthday message to Cebu: 'Think of your future'
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has been making more public appearances lately. With the local and national elections only 10 months away, does Osmeña return to public lilfe mean he is eyeing his former seat?
Osmeña, who celebrated his 66th birthday on Sunday, July 26, called on Cebuanos to make a choice for their future but did not say if he was indeed going to run once again for mayor of Cebu City, the center of the second-most populous metro area outside of Metro Manila.
Tomas Osmeña, also known as 'Tommy,' served as mayor of Cebu from 1988 to 1995 and from 2001 to 2010. He has been out of the spotlight after his congressional term ended in 2013.
Osmeña was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2008, but has since been declared “cancer free” for 6 years. (READ: Will he run for mayor again? Tommy Osmeña cancer-free)
Recently, Osmeña and his supporters filed a string of cases against department heads appointed by current mayor Michael Rama, including that of City Attorney Jerone Castillo, questioning his residency and qualification.
Last week, a case preventing Mayor Rama to evict informal settlers at the cemetery was supported by Osmena.
'What's important is Cebu'
“Tomas Osmeña is not important. What is important is Cebu. Nag offer lang ko ug serbisyo (I’m just offering service),” said Osmena in an hour long interview over local radio dyAB-AM.
“Think about your family and your future. Dinhi sa pamolitika, pulos propaganda mga black propaganda. Ang important ra, tanawa ang mga programa.” (In politics, it’s almost all propaganda, black propaganda. What’s important is to look at the program)
The former mayor also organized a farmer’s market for upland barangays at the South Road Properties (SRP), the area considered as one of his highlight projects during his time as mayor.
Famous for his candid lines during interviews, the former mayor commented on many issues surrounding the city as well as his former ally Rama. He described the incumbent mayor as his biggest mistake along with another former ally Alvin Garcia, also a former Mayor.
“What I don’t like is when somebody cannot run anymore and pick a family member to replace him,” Osmeña said on political dynasties.
In 1998, he did not object or do anything to block Alvin Garcia’s bid for mayor who then ran against him when Osmeña ran again in 2001. The same thing happened with Rama, his former vice mayor, ran in the 2013 elections, where Osmeña was defeated by a close margin.
"Facing them is not a problem but work with them? No way. I do not want to work with traitors. If they do it the first time, they will do it again,” said Osmeña.
Osmeña said that there were many lost opportunities for the city because of Rama including continuing projects that he was able to secure for Cebu City before. He cited the P400 million national-government funded flyover project which could have solved the problem with traffic in the IT Park and Lahug area.
Mike Rama, he said opposed the flyover project forcing Osmeña to instead give away the project to former Representative Eduardo Gullas who diverted the amount for Talisay City.
Osmeña also noted that he has no use of pork barrel in securing projects for the city. “Pork Barrel for me is for people who don’t know how to get money. Ako, di ko kinahanglan ug pork barrel (Me, I do not need pork barrel),” said Osmena.
Projects like the South Road Properties (SRP) and the widening of roads in V. Rama, M. Velez, and the new traffic system were funded without the use of pork barrel, Osmeña noted.
“This (pork barrel) are for people nga walay abilidad mukuha ug kwarta (who don’t know how to look for funds),” he said.
Rama, on the other hand, remained mum on the issues and cases hurled against him by the former mayor. – Rappler.com