Leonardia, Puentevella trade barbs

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014


BACOLOD City Mayor Monico Puentevella and Representative Evelio Leonardia (lone district) continue to trade barbs over the proposal to divide the city into two districts.

Leonardia issued a statement saying that two districts are no longer needed now that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf) has been abolished, because without it, redistricting would mean double government expenses.

He said he had pushed for redistricting in the past because with two districts, the city is supposed to get twice the Pdaf to spur its development.

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With the new realities, a single district could be more cost-efficient, he added.

Reacting to Leonardia’s statement, Puentevella said the congressman’s stand raises question about his real motive in running for the congressional post.

“Did you only want to enter to Congress for the sake of the Pdaf or to legislate laws?” Puentevella asked.

The mayor said that when he served as representative of Bacolod for three consecutive terms, he had authored major legislations of national concern that included the Civil Aviation Authority Law.

Puentevella added that the proposal for the creation of additional congressional district for the city is not his own but of the members of the previous City Council and former Representative Anthony Golez.

He added that these officials initiated the creation of additional congressional district as they saw it good for the city of Bacolod, he said.

“This is the reason why I reiterated the passage of a law creating additional congressional district,” he said.
Puentevella said the situation of Bacolod now is the perfect example why the city needs additional congressman so that if one does not agree the other might.

For his part, Leonardia said the mayor misinterpreted his statement.

“When I said that we needed to rethink the need to split Bacolod into two districts because there is no more Pdaf, I said it in the context of cost-efficiency, that we needed to have a set-up that will accelerate our development at the least cost," he said.

Leonardia added that what he meant was that since there is no more Pdaf, creating another district in the city will prove more expensive for the government as it will spend twice for the work that could be done by one congressman.

“It would have been different if there was Pdaf because then the two organizations can work simultaneously without pulling down each other, using different budgets. Then, development is accelerated.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 04, 2014.

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