City execs on “Lakbay Aral” despite questions
May B. Miasco/JMO (The Freeman) - November 24, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Amidst questions, 40 Cebu City government officials led by Mayor Michael Rama flew to a four-day trip to Manila for a “Lakbay Aral” tour.

The city government would spend P471,600 to cover the travel expenses of at least 45 department heads, assistant department heads, and other officials, says Councilor Lea Ouano-Japson in an ordinance.

City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas, Tessie Camarillo of the City Treasurer’s Office, Lyndon Basan of the City Legal Office, Veronica Morelos of the Human Resource Department Office, and Arlene Rentuza of the Internal Audit Services Office could not join the trip.

The trip may be is aimed at “sharing the best practices” of the city government being visited but Councilor Margarita Osmeña questioned the number of people going.

“All of the department heads will be going and for what specific sharing of best practices? Why all at the same time? What is happening in Manila that all of their best practices are being shared? And why all of the department heads?” she said.

Osmeña and Councilors Mary Ann de los Santos, Alvin Arcilla, Eugenio Gabuya, Alvin Dizon, and David Tumulak abstained from voting for the resolution.

Those who supported the resolution approving the travelling expenses were Councilors Noel Wenceslao, Nestor Archival, Sr., Roberto Cabarrubias, Gerardo Carillo and Lea Japson.

On her Facebook account later in the day, Osmeña raised more questions about the trip.

“Can you name other local government units that allow 50 employees (department heads, assistant department heads, executive directors, etc.) to go on a Lakbay Aral all at the same time? As a taxpayer, would you allow your money to be spent for a Lakbay Aral? Did the Department of Interior and Local Government advise the barangay officials to defer the conduct of Lakbay Aral and attendance to trainings and seminars, which require payment of fees drawn from barangay funds?,” she wrote.

The city officials flew to Manila last Monday night.

In a teleconference yesterday, Rama said they started the tour in Makati, which was recognized for its health program, the “Yellow Card” program. The city also received the Dubai International Best Practices Award for outstanding contributions towards improving the environment.

“We have been to Makati. We went door to door at the city hall. After that we went to their hospital because that is part of (learning) their best practices (when it comes to providing medical services) that we choose for our department heads to be exposed to,” Rama said.

Meanwhile, Santa Rosa City has been a consistent awardee of the Green Banner Award conferred by the National Nutrition Council. There, the Cebu City officials witnessed the city’s process of maintaining its cemetery.

Today, they are expected to visit Marikina City in the morning and Taguig City in the afternoon. They are set to witness Marikina River Rehabilitation and Marikina Garbage Collection Processes.

In Taguig, the Cebu City officials are expected to learn how the city earned its Galing Pook Award on Socialized Housing Projects and Green Banner Award in 2008, 2009 and 2014 given by the National Nutrition Council. The Green Banner Award is the highest honor conferred to a local government unit for its exemplary implementation and management of nutrition programs.

The city officials are expected to return to Cebu on November 26. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ALVIN ARCILLA ALVIN DIZON ARLENE RENTUZA OF THE INTERNAL AUDIT SERVICES OFFICE ATILDE CEBU CITY CITY DEPARTMENT GREEN BANNER AWARD LAKBAY ARAL NATIONAL NUTRITION COUNCIL
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