Vehicle distribution questioned, politics in aid to barangays?

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - July 24, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Council wants the General Services Office (GSO) to review its policy in assigning vehicles to the city's 80 barangays.

This, after City Councilor Alvin Arcilla said he observed that partisan politics is being employed as to who would get vehicles.

"Actually, we accept the reality nga naa gyoy politika, dili gyod na kalikayan.  Sa mo-ingon pa mo og walay politika, 100 percent para nako naa gyod na, tua na sa allies gipanghatag," Arcilla said.

City Councilor Margarita "Margot" Osmeña said the issue surfaced after several barangays captains allied with Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan recently asked the City Council for a pick-up vehicle each.

 "But if we look at the list dated June 2013, naa naman silay pick-up (vehicles) as purchased under the 2012 budget," Osmeña said.

Margot is the wife of BOPK leader and former mayor Tomas Osmeña, whom Mayor Michael Rama defeated in the elections last year.  Rama and Vice Mayor Labella's allies, however, arethe minority in the BOPK-dominated City Council.

Yesterday, the City Council summoned GSO Chief Dionisio Gualiza to "explain… the distribution of vehicles in the different barangays of the city."

Margot said the city allocated P80 million in the 2012 budget for vehicles distributed to the 80 barangays.

She said she wanted to know to whom the vehicles were particularly were assigned to, as the City Council may be just wasting resources if it grants the request of the BOPK-allied barangay captains.

Gualiza informed her that 80 vehicles were indeed issued to each of the city's barangays

"Ang 80 barangays received but dili makita diri sa list nga ang barangay captains ang gihatagan.  It's according to the discretion of the mayor," he said.

Arcilla said that if the vehicles are appropriated for the barangays, it is but proper that it is the barangays using them.

"Gihatag man kaha ni sa barangays?  Sa Local Government Code, ang pwede modawat ang barangay captains and treasurers ra gyod kay bonded officers ni sila," he said.

Gualiza said that it is the prerogative of the mayor to whom it would be prioritized.

"So, are you saying that even if we have appropriated it for the barangays, the mayor has the discretion who would be the one given this vehicle? Otherwise, we will not appropriate funds for the barangays then," said City Councilor Sisinio M. Andales.

Andales said that GSO should clarify the policy because the funds used to procure the vehicles are the people's money and the vehicles were intended for the barangays.

Arcilla also questioned who signed the trip tickets of the vehicles, which gets fuel allocation from the city, if they were issued to the barangay councilors and no to the barangay captains.

He cited Talamban as an example, where the Toyota Hi-lux pick-up is not even parked at the barangay hall after being issued to two barangay councilors and not to the barangay captain who, supposedly, should be the only one signing trip tickets.

The council, through a motion by Andales, requested GSO to make it a policy that each of the vehicles must be assigned to the barangay captains and not to anyone else.

Gualiza was invited to appear before the City Council after City Councilor Gerardo Carillo asked where is the vehicle issued to Barangay Pahina San Nicolas that was issued to Barangay Councilor John Paul Go.

"Pero karon, napildi naman si John Paul Go, asa na ang unit karon for the barangay?" he asked Gualiza.

City Council members expressed surprise during the hearing when Gualiza said the vehicle was turned over to City Councilor Mary Ann Delos Santos, an ally of Rama.

The public hearing ended with the City Council requesting the GSO to submit a list of all vehicles, including the ambulance bought by the city government, that are appropriated to the barangays.

The council also designated City Councilors Eugenio Gabuya,  David Tumulak, and Andales as members of the Committee on Three that would examine if the vehicles were properly distributed and would help the executive in implementing the policy on it. — /RHM (FREEMAN)


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