Labella vows to solve flooding, waste disposal, traffic in Cebu City

Labella vows to solve flooding, waste disposal, traffic in Cebu City
The new mayor says he will hold office in his old room as vice mayor after his predecessor, Tomas Osmeña, stripped bare the mayor's office before leaving

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Edgardo Labella took his oath as the new mayor of Cebu City on Sunday, June 30, calling on other local officials to set aside politics so they could solve the problems brought about by urbanization. 

After thanking his supporters for seeing him through a difficult campaign against reelectionist mayor Tomas Osmeña, Labella urged officials to be with him in addressing the city’s perennial problems, like flooding, waste disposal, and traffic. 

“If there is any program that proves beneficial to the people of the City of Cebu, by all means, let us continue. Let’s stop politicking. Let’s stop partisan posturing,” Labella said.

He recalled: “It is sheer understatement to say that campaigning against the former mayor, and, more crucially, pleading your trust was an uphill climb…. I was against a formidable incumbent who knows how to wield his power and use government resources.”

Labella, then the vice mayor, was backed by President Rodrigo Duterte. He defeated Osmeña, who had been in the city’s seat of power for about 20 years.

During the campaign, however, Osmeña and his supporters faced harassment from the police, whose head was handpicked by Duterte. 

On Sunday, Labella said he would work at his old vice mayor’s office for one week, since Osmeña stripped the mayor’s office bare before leaving city hall. On Friday, June 28, Labella found the office fixtures, furniture, cabinets, and tiles removed from the office. Osmeña said those were bought by his personal money.

Michael Rama also took his oath on Sunday as Labella’s vice mayor. He was was a former mayor of Cebu City. He previously also called for political differences to be set aside as officials serve under fresh mandates. 

Aside from the officials’ supporters, relatives, and friends, also present at the inaugural ceremonies at city hall were Senator Francis Tolentino, Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Lazaro Javier, and some of the new city councilors. –