Thirty Years of Tommy Osmena, Same Old Cebu City Problems

It is ironic that a so called rectification and change movement online would openly support Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmena who represents anything but rectification and change for the better.

Then again, this is the same group that preaches about the goodness of the parliamentary form of government and yet employs unparliamentary behavior when they come across valid arguments against their main dogma. Even before violent fanaticism became prevalent on Facebook during the 2015-2016 election period, this group was known to harass and send people death threats in the misguided belief that they were defending the purity of their dogma.

And by dogma, I am referring to a dozen or so articles which barely pass readability tests.

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One of the chief selling points of the rectification group is that their proposed changes to the Philippine constitution will end political dynasties and pave the way for young, principled politicians to gain power.

Yet… here they are… saddling up with good old Tommy Osmena whose clan has lorded over Cebu’s politics for decades and yet has done little to solve problems people in Cebu city have been suffering from for the past 30 years.

Their alliance with Osmena just further bolsters what I said about this group’s proposed changes to the Philippine constitution, these changes will make political dynasties thrive and even help these dynasties gain a stranglehold on Philippine politics at the national level.

Personally, I have nothing against Mayor Osmena and his recently recruited group of online “warriors” — one of whom, I will concede, writes better than Jover Laurio, RJ Nieto, and Sass Rogando Sassot.

I tell you, this guy deserves Nieto’s followers more.

Anyway, since last year, I have been planning to move out of Metro Manila and resettle elsewhere.

I visited Cebu City in May 2016 and left with wonderful memories of the place, thinking I should relocate there. It is a beautiful city that is just a few minutes from really awesome beaches. The food is nothing short of amazing and I don’t think I’d tire of learning of the city’s heritage and culture.

But, after researching a bit more, three red flags came up: flooding, squatters, and traffic. I mean, if I were to give up Metro Manila for another place, it better be one with less of these infernal problems.

Last year, Cebu City councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said that if Osmeña truly had the drive to solve flooding, the problem would have long been solved since the mayor has been in the position for nearly 20 years.

“If he was serious in addressing the problem on flooding, if naa kay vision for the flooding problem of Cebu, this could have been solved,” Garcia said.

Cebu’s thirty year old flooding problem was punctuated by the drowning of two children and a man when heavy rain fell on the city in September last year.

Some people on Facebook say that flooding in Cebu could have been mitigated if a flood control program for the city had not been blocked by Mayor Osmena’s wife in 2015.

Voting 7-6 with one abstention, the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan-dominated council junked the budget proposal on the dredging of rivers and creeks, and de-clogging of aqueducts, seawalls, and river walls, among others.

City Councilors Eugenio Gabuya, Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Nestor Archival, Nida Cabrera, Lea Japson and Margarita Osmeña opposed the passage of the budget measure, pointing out several reasons.


Rampant squatting is another problem which has been plaguing Cebu city for decades and here, again, we see Osmena’s hand.

Acting Cebu City Mayor Margarita Osmeña signed a memorandum prohibiting the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP); Local Housing Board; the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) Office; and the City Legal Office from issuing any order, notice or recommendation to demolish or evict vendors and informal settler families.


(I’m ending this post here and will continue tomorrow with a discussion on Cebu City’s traffic and the BRT as a solution.)

6 Replies to “Thirty Years of Tommy Osmena, Same Old Cebu City Problems”

  1. It is the same problems that plague, any urban area, in the Philippines. Flooding, Squatters and Traffic. Incompetence , politics and irresponsibility are the main causes of these problems.

    The Osmenas are political family dynasties in Cebu. They are there for many years, as leaders. There are problems; the problems are not solved. However, people voted for them, again and again.

    Maybe, I blame also the people, for putting these incompetents, again and again in the position, they cannot manage.

    1. It is just strange that people saying they want change are supporting politicians who represent anything but change.

  2. It’s not that simple though, we’ve had at least three different mayors in the last thirty years. There was Garcia and the previous mayor was Rama. This is Osmena’s third stint as mayor, but none of his terms were straight. The argument that was Rama was once Osmena’ kumpare can’t fly because they had a falling out during Osmena’s second term and now they hate each other. The conflict was really obvious. During Rama’s term, most of the city council were pro-osmena and would block Rama’s projects. Now in Osmena’s current term, its the other way around with most of the councilors being pro-Rama, including the vice mayor. I don’t understand what Cebuanos are thinking, putting the mayor’s office and the city councilor’s against each other like that and creating alot of gridlock.

    1. Thomas Chiong Sy:

      Gridlock can be removed, by voting these Rascals Out. Put a Mayor, who is a no nonsense; a doer and a problem solver. Team effort is the key, including voters’ team efforts.

  3. The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the Yellowtard Failippines the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

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