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Margot: Funds for street children underutilized

Odessa O. Leyson (The Freeman) - August 25, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña has claimed that the previous administration failed to fully utilize the P2.8 million budget allocated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development-7 for comprehensive program on street children.

Osmeña said the previous administration had only spent P800,000 in the profiling of at least 600 rescued street children. She said the remaining amount is yet to be accounted.

Osmeña, deputy mayor for social services, said the DSWD told her during a meeting last week that the second tranche of the budget for the program on street children amounting to P1.4 million is now up for release.

However, the amount will only be given after the city government shall have liquidated the first tranche, which was released to the administration of then mayor Michael Rama in November last year.

“The DSWD wanted to find out where it was because there is a second tranche. Before you give the second tranche you have to find out what happen to the first,” Osmeña said.

According to Osmeña, the first tranche was intended to fund the profiling, feeding and other after care activities. She vowed to utilize the second tranche for programs that would benefit the street children.

“So one of the decision came out, the Cebu City Task Force on Street Children would help implement because we know that they are the arm and the Cebu City Commission on Protection of Street Children will be the implementing agency,” she said.

Osmeña explained that there was no budget for street children in the annual budget because it has a separate funding from DSWD-7.

Meanwhile, Osmeña criticized the previous administration for ‘wasting’ government fund in the construction of collapsible building in Barangay Lorega supposedly intended for less privileged children.

The project costs the city government P4 million but has not been utilized until now.

“They build it when it was not wanted, why you have to build something you don’t even know what you’re going to do with it and it’s in the place where nobody wants it, so nobody is using it,” Osmeña said. — /FPL (FREEMAN)

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