QUEZON CITY (July 26, 2022) — Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama said he will lobby with the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., among others, the construction of a dam and a power plant in Cebu City.
He would also push for the national government to choose Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) as site for a specialty hospital outside Metro Manila, either for the heart, lungs, kidneys, or children.
This, after the President Marcos cited water, energy, and specialty hospitals as priorities, especially in urban centers, in his transformation plan that he announced during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday.
Mayor Rama described the President’s SONA as “very comprehensive” and “in fact, encompassing” that addressed all that the nation particularly needs to bounce back from the setbacks caused by the pandemic and recent calamities.
The Mayor praised President Marcos for giving prime importance on agriculture, fiscal management and in moving towards “right-sizing” of employees in government offices, as these echo his policy direction for the city government.
“It is superb for the President to bring the nation to be sound,” Mayor Rama said.
He was also pleased that the new government intends to complete the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project and to finally realize the Cebu Railway System, which he hoped would include his vision of a monorail and a cable car.
“Becoming a Singapore-like Cebu City may not be far-fetched, after all,” the mayor said.
President Marcos acknowledged the “precarious fresh water supply situation, especially in urban areas,” noting that many of the water systems date back to the 1950s. “They must now be rehabilitated and improved,” he said.
He instructed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Works and Highways to explore possible partnerships with the private sector for this.
Mayor Rama saw this as an opportunity to push further for the construction of a new dam, or the desilting of the Buhisan Dam to increase its storage capacity back to when it was built 110 years ago for the Osmeña Waterworks.
In a series of convergence meetings after super typhoon Odette wreaked havoc in the city last December 16, public and private sector representatives agreed on the need for the city to have a dam to ensure ample supply when disasters strike.
A recent announcement by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District to increase its tariff on water by 60 percent next year and another 10 percent in the year after refreshed Mayor Rama’s objective to build a dam.
In his SONA, President Marcos underscored the need to increase the level of energy production, especially using “cheap reliable energy … appropriate for the Philippine situation.”
While he acknowledged that there is some room to expand present power supply through existing power sources, he noted that “this is only to a very limited extent.”
Thus, he declared: “We must build new power plants,” and take advantage of all the best technology now available, especially in the areas of renewable energy.
“Our search for new power sources should always be with an eye of improving the mix of the energy supply between traditional and renewable sources,” the President said.
“The technology on renewable energy is progressing rapidly, and many of these technologies are appropriate for the Philippines,” he added, citing windmills, solar farm, as well as offshore and onshore wind turbines.
President Marcos said the World Bank has calculated a potential of 255 gigawatts by 2030.
Our search for new power sources should always be with an eye of improving the mix of the energy supply between traditional and renewable sources.President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.
Mayor Rama noted the plan fits well with the need the convergence meetings also identified after the Odette experience, which is to build a power plant in the city that the local government may even operate.
While he prefers renewable energy, either solar farms or windmills in the hinterlands, he said he is open with traditional sources provided that technologies that mitigate its impact to the environment are applied.
Still in his SONA, President Marcos saw the need to build more specialty hospitals so that citizens in need would not have to travel to Metro Manila for their health needs.
“Kailangan magdagdag ng ganitong uri ng mga pagamutan,” he said.
Towards this, Mayor Rama said he would lobby for CCMC to become one of such hospitals, whether for the heart center, lung center, children, and/or kidney and transplant institute.
With the planned construction of another building for wellness, he said CCMC may also be the center for patients with diabetes, cancer, and other critical illnesses, with the support of the Department of Health.
Mayor Rama expected Cebu City to be blessed by the Marcos administration, especially on transportation, and praised the President for continuing the projects that President Rodrigo R. Duterte started.
“It is clear in my mind that railways offer great potential as it continues to be the cheapest way of transporting goods and passengers,” the President said in his SONA.
“The Cebu Railway System will be integrated as a vital part of our transport and communication system,” he added.
“We will also continue to improve our roads and transportation systems in key cities throughout the country through various projects such as the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit,” he further said.
Mayor Rama, though, said he hopes the original route of the BRT as planned from Bulacao will be adopted.
He also looked forward at realizing the inter-modal integrated transportation system that Department of Transportation Undersecretary Arthur P. Tugade had planned for, now under the stewardship of Interim Secretary Jaime J. Bautista.
“This will definitely be pursued in view of the pronouncement of the President that he will continue the infrastructure projects put in place by his predecessor,” the Mayor said. #
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