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By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — SciTech and Digital News
TAGUIG CITY, 31 August 2023 (SDN) — When this city’s chief executive, Mayor Maria Laarni “Lani” L. Cayetano spoke on Thursday before close to 300 gathered seniors in Barangay Pembo, she was both a loving daughter and a public servant eager to help improve the lot of her constituents.
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She was there at the Clean Project Car Hub on No. 09 Sampaguita Street, Barangay Pembo (formerly of the City of Makati), to distribute birthday cash gifts for seniors of the 10 EMBO villages.
It was a small, cramped, crowded place. Hardly an elbow room. The mayor’s staff wanted to hold the activity in a large area for the seniors’ comfort, according to a journalist who covered the activity. But a top village official reportedly did not approve the chosen place, he was told.
Making the seniors understand the cases
For those living under a rock, the EMBO barangays were under Makati’s patronage for many years until the Supreme Court decided otherwise.
Cayetano led the distribution of birthday cash gifts worth from Php3,000 to Php10,000, depending on the age bracket, to the seniors. Centenarians are entitled to Php100,000.
Fondly called “Ate Lani” (Sister Lani), she did not let the opportunity to be heard and understood slipped by without explaining the legal tiff between the local governments of Taguig and Makati to the seniors and other citizens of the EMBO villages.
With soft voice, apologetic, yet assured and confident like a leader should, gesturing as she poured her heart out on the topic that consumed news media outlets for weeks and months, even years, the way she stood there on the stage, Cayetano made sure she communicated her respect for and recognition of the vital role the elders of the communities play in society.
“The City of Taguig acknowledges you as productive and important part of our community,” she assures.
“I acknowledge that many of you were born and have grown up in the City of Makati. I will not take that away. You have natural love for the city.”
On the other hand, she emphasized that she accepts everything the Supreme Court stated in its final decision regarding the second case that Makati brought to the High Court — that on deciding the case “on its merit”.
Asks EMBO seniors to help find ways to achieve harmony
“I cannot disregard the decision of the Supreme Court,” the lady mayor points out. “I am appealing to you. I am not seeking to start a debate or fight. I am only performing my duty as the mayor of the City of Taguig.”
She said the first case that Makati brought to the High Tribunal was about “forum shopping” which Taguig won.
Cayetano said she did not gloat over the victory. She just kept her cool, accepted the “status quo”. She said she did not want to anger the leaders of the other city. She did not want either to cause anxieties on the citizens of the 10 EMBO barangays which the Supreme Court had decided for Taguig.
In any transition, Cayetano noted, the process is “difficult and complicated”.
Cayetano said as the database of EMBO seniors was not yet turned over Taguig Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OCSA) from the Makati OCSA, the list of seniors can’t be finalized yet.
Meanwhile, the mayor acknowledged that Taguig City’s programs for its constituents were inspired by its local government unit (LGU) neighbors.
She expressed hope on what she described as the “Supreme Court’s final decision” would get the leaders of Taguig and Makati to talk and find the best way for transition”.
Cayetano requested the elders of the EMBO villages to help find harmony between the two cities and their citizens. (✓)