No quorum: Campaign takes toll on PB attendance

(The Freeman) - March 28, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The local political campaign has taken its toll on the Cebu Provincial Board as most of its members were absent yesterday, resulting in the lack of quorum and the legislative body's failure to act on various important matters.

At least 32 items, including proposed ordinances and resolutions, in the agenda yesterday that were not acted upon by the Provincial Board for lack of quorum.

Only five board members of the 14-member body were present yesterday, prompting the acting presiding officer to adjourn the session. The body would need at least eight members to have a quorum.

After more than 30 minutes of waiting for other members to arrive, Board Member Miguel Antonio Magpale, who acted as the presiding officer, called the session to order but eventually decided not to proceed with the calendar of business.

Apart from Magpale, only Board Members Jude Thaddeus Sybico, Raul Alcoseba, Ivy Durano-Meca, and Celestino Martinez III were present.

Lawyer Pulchra Marie Acevedo, PB secretary, said some Board Members had informed her in the morning that they could not attend the session because they were allegedly on "official businesses."

Only five members though were able to send letters to Acevedo informing her of their absence.

In the copies of the letters obtained by The FREEMAN, Board Members Julian Daan and Sun Shimura said they were on a business trip and on an "official business" in Madridejos, respectively.

Board Member Joven Mondigo, meanwhile, said he was attending a seminar on Gender Development and Women's Rights where he was resource person.  Board Members Christopher Baricuatro and Peter John Calderon, who represent the second district, said they were on leave.

Both Baricuatro and Calderon were spotted yesterday during the caravan of the Liberal Party candidates in the second and the newly created seventh districts.

Baricuatro is seeking reelection, this time, representing seventh district, while Calderon is vying for a seat in the Congress representing the seventh district.

A staff of Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, who heads the PB, informed the secretary over the phone that the vice governor could not attend the session. The vice governor, who is supposed to be the presiding officer, was likewise in the caravan.

Board Members Grecilda Sanchez and Alex Binghay decided to leave before the session started after learning that they could have a quorum. Board Member Arleigh Sitoy, meanwhile, has been absent in the past sessions due to his ailments.

The body was supposed to act on, among others, the proposed ordinance on organic agriculture program, which is set for third and final reading, and ordinances and resolutions of different local governments which are under review by the PB.

Other items in the agenda are the proposed resolutions for the downloading of the P6.9 million to Santander for a farm-to-market road, appropriating financial assistance to different barangays amounting to over P124, 000.

Yesterday was supposedly the fourth regular session of the PB this month. Acevedo said the PB has to conduct at least four sessions in a month as required by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

LP caravan

The Liberal Party wooed yesterday the bailiwicks of the Garcia clan in Southern Cebu. The local administration candidates led by Governor Hilario Davide III and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale started their campaign in the governor's hometown in Argao.

After the Holy Mass at the Saint Michael Church, the LP candidates commenced the three-day caravan to Badian, Malabuyoc and Dumanjug in seventh legislative district, which is perceived to be the stronghold of One Cebu Party of the Garcias. They had a rally last night in Dumanjug.

Davide promised to continue his six-star development agenda, such as health and social services; countryside development; education and technical vocational training; environmental protection, climate change and disaster risk management; infrastructure development and tourism investment promotion; and law and order.

If reelected, Davide said he will seriously look into the proposals for the establishment of the trans-axial highway. He said his administration has not given up on the proposed 300-kilometer highway that will connect the northern areas of the province to the south.

Aside from trans-axial, Davide said export processing zones, alternative renewable energy sources, and other infr astructure projects will also be prioritized.

Yellow meets blue

In an unexpected event, the LP caravan met One Cebu candidates and supporters in Barangay Looc, Oslob on their way to Santander.

Some of One Cebu supporters clad in blue shirts and bringing tarpaulins with their candidates' faces printed, booed LP officials and supporters.

Some of them were also seen by Cebu media making thumbs down signs while chanting "winner," the combined name of One Cebu standard bearers Winston Garcia and Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial candidates, respectively.

Approximately 20 vehicles joined the One Cebu convoy while LP had at least 40 vehicles.

One Cebu in Toledo

The One Cebu candidates, on the other hand, were in Toledo City yesterday for the launching of Team Asenso of former mayor Aurelio "Rudy" Espinosa and Councilor Ricardo Pepito.

Garcia summarized his programs into three areas: free hospitalization and medicines, free vocational training, and more jobs for the Cebuanos. (FREEMAN)



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