Cebu News

Alcover insists: Baclayon a “liar”

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Despite the backing of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Cebu City Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover stood pat on calling city agriculturist Joey Baclayon a “liar” for his recent remarks regarding farmers.

“Bakakon ni si Baclayon, mao ni hinungdan nga nag-deliver kog privilege speech nga tangtangon g’yud ni siya kay tungod sa akong nahibaw-an ug sa akong experience niya nga puros ra g’yud ni siya pamakak,” said Alcover in a press conference in his office yesterday.

He had been calling on Baclayon to step down from his position due to his alleged "inefficiency" to help farmers with the impact of El Niño.

In an interview with the Cebu City Information Office, Baclayon said there were no reports that plants in the mountain barangays already dried up.

“Kinsa man na mag-uumaha nga iyang gipang-ingon ug gipaminaw? Mag-uuma pud nato nga dili tinuod pud nga mag-uuma,” Baclayon said last Thursday over Cebu City Hall’s online program, addressing Alcover.

Baclayon questioned the allegations of Alcover saying his office did not even receive a complaint from the city’s 10,970 registered farmers. Baclayon said the Cebu City Agriculture Department (CAD) prepared the farmers even before the arrival of El Niño. With this, Alcover challenged Baclayon saying he has documents from the farmers.

"Ako ni siya gi-challenge karon and I hope the mayor will listen kay kining tawhana nga iyang giduphan bakakon ug makadaot ni sa mga mag-uuma makadaot sad ni sa iyang liderato," said Alcover.

Alcover said he received at least 51 reports from the farmers in the city's mountain barangays. He cited some that indicate the number of hectares showing the ill-effects of drought brought by El Niño. He added the farmers also sent him pictures of dried-up plants.

"Nangadaot na ilang mga tanom," he said.

He said farmers were reportedly under instructions that only seven farmers of each farmers’ association were allowed to report their situation before CAD.

To Alcover, such instructions are not justifiable since each farmers’ association is composed of at least 100 members, leaving the problems of the rest accordingly unattended. He also urged Baclayon to explain such a process.

"Di ko mo-undang until di ni siya mataktak," he said.

It was reported that Alcover delivered a privilege speech before the Cebu City Council to lay down the alleged inefficiency of Baclayon to address the impacts of El Niño on the farmers despite being CAD head for 15 years.

Answering the call, Rama backed the appointment of Baclayon, adding he believed in his leadership.

Alcover further said that Baclayon is an "absent" agriculturist saying that he hasn't been updated on the situation of the farmers in the mountain areas.

"Dako kaayo ni nga problema kay maapektahan man gud atong food security sa city," said Alcover.

Tackling further on food security, Alcover said that if the farming system of the farmers is not monitored, this will impact the food security in the city.

Alcover said that the plants in the farms are heavily affected by the drought. He added that farmers should have been provided with rice and water aid rather than seedlings.

Previously, Baclayon appeared before the City Council to justify the items of the requested calamity fund which includes budget requisition for seedlings and fertilizers reportedly upon the request of farmers.

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