Winston: Cebu’s wealth due to Davide “inaction”

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/RHM (The Freeman) - November 22, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Finding something negative to say on his political opponent after Cebu was named the richest province of the country, lawyer Winston Garcia said it was a “shameful display” of the current administration’s “inaction”.

He said Governor Hilario Davide III’s administration should instead be embarrassed for having surplus funds because “a poor man in southern Cebu died because the provincial district hospital there had no funds to purchase gasoline for its ambulance.”

Winston was referring to a case involving a patient who was not immediately brought to a hospital because his family was asked to pay P1,500 first for the fuel and allowance of the driver.

Barili District Hospital, however, had already belied the report, explaining that its ambulance is free of charge and that what Garcia was referring to might be the ambulance owned by the municipality of Barili.

Winston also mentioned the incident in Minglanilla District Hospital, where “lapse of judgment” was blamed for the death of a one-year old child after the attending doctor allegedly asked the family to buy the prescribed medicines from a private pharmacy when these were available at the hospital’s pharmacy.

“A wealthy province that allows a child in Minglanilla to die because government cannot provide P700 worth of medicine is criminal neglect. What use is government savings when people in the province are dying?” he said in a press statement.

Winston said it is not the government’s business to generate surplus funds because it is not an insurance company, a pension fund or a bank “that needs to save money in order to answer for future contingent liabilities.”

“The reason why government collects taxes is because its sole mandate is to provide public service and public infrastructure. Every single government revenue should be spent for the needs of the people,” said Winston, who is contesting Davide for his seat in the 2016 elections.

According to the latest 2014 annual financial report of the Commission on Audit, Cebu Province has the highest equity at P28.181 billion, recording an asset of P29.69 billion and liabilities amounting P1.5 billion.

The province also earned P651 million in 2014 after generating a revenue of P2.76 billion and spending P2.11 billion.

“One peso of government revenue saved is one peso less for much needed public services. This is purely non-performance and a sign of gross incompetence on the part of the provincial government. A government which saves money at the expense of the people is not only ineptitude but is liable to criminal neglect. The surplus is something not to crow about but to be ashamed of,” Winston said.

He went on to say that “once I become a governor I will provide free health care to Cebuanos so that no child or an old man die because the provincial government cannot provide free medicine and fuel for ambulance.”

Davide’s predecessor, third district representative Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia, Winston’s  sister, earlier said that the province’s assets were just inherited from the time when she served as governor.

Davide, though, said the province is in a better position now than it could ever have been under Gwen.

“Remember, the province was fortunate Gov. Gwen was suspended when she was already bleeding our coffers dry. The healthy state of our resources is a testament of the good sense of fiscal management of acting governor Magpale during Gwen Garcia’s suspension and in this administration,” he said.  (FREEMAN)

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