It must be very insulting for both Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to know that, in their own times, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has judged them as failures in developing the South Road Properties (SRP).
One can only understand the frustration of JICA which sees nothing significant to boast about since it funded the reclamation project 18 years or so ago.
What could be the reason why the lethargic progress in the sale of the SRP lots?
One does not have to be a social scientist to know the reason why.
Both Rama and Osmeña claim competence on how to dispose the lots and turn SRP into a successful industrial, commercial and residential district, but what is preventing it from being so is, yes, politics.
Between them is a wide, irreparable political chasm that not only stagnate the development of the SRP, but it is, likewise, negatively affecting the interest/enthusiasm of the businessmen wanting to invest at the SRP.
Needless to say that it is the political rivalry and personal animosity between them that is creating uncertainty for the would-be investors and shooing them off.
Osmeña may no longer be a city official, but he is very much vocal and visible when it comes to SRP matters and concerns, especially if the same emanates from Rama.
Rama may have beaten Osmeña during their mayoralty contest, but it didn’t really matter much because the latter’s party, the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), controls the city council’s voice and votes.
Whatever Rama wants to do at SRP will only be as good as the support given him by the council, if at all.
Rama had Cebu City in mind when he fought Osmeña for the mayoralty position.
Osmeña had his ‘baby’, the SRP, in mind when he challenged Rama for the mayoralty position.
That is how much Osmeña loath Rama’s interference/meddling in the affairs of the SRP.
That is simply the long and short of it.
Now, it would be interesting to know what JICA does next.
As the incumbent, it would be testing Mayor Rama’s leadership and true business acumen, while Osmeña waits for every opportunity to pound on him.
And their political rivalry and personal animosity continues.