NO GOVERNMENT funds were used in mobilizing support for the pro-Duterte rally in Bacolod City last February 26.
Some of the mayors who joined the rally, which was led by Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Interior Undersecretary for Public Safety Jesus Hinlo Jr., confirmed this to SunStar Bacolod.
About 2,000 people, along with 17 mayors and other local officials, trooped to the Government Center in Bacolod City to show their support to President Rodrigo Duterte.
However, some sectors claimed that public funds were used to stage the nationwide pro-Duterte rally after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a memorandum to local government officials that they may mobilize constituents who would want to participate in rallies supporting the President.
The mayors stressed they did not use government funds to transport their constituents to the rally in Bacolod, the capital city of Negros Occidental.
Sipalay City Mayor Oscar Montilla said residents and concerned citizens from his locality paid for their transportation.
He said more than 100 supporters rode the City Government-owned bus and a private-owned bus for the activity in Bacolod, which is about five hours away from Sipalay.
He added that they paid for the fuel while he provided assistance for food.
E. B. Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon echoed the same sentiment, saying the Municipal Government did not spend anything for the pro-Duterte rally.
He said that about 30 supporters, along with two barangay councilmen, rode the bus owned by the Municipal Government, but he paid for the gasoline out of his own pocket.
E.B. Magalona is 30 minutes away from Bacolod City.
Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco said that he mobilized other town officials, and barangay leaders for the activity in Bacolod, which is three hours away from his town.
He said they pooled their cars and shared money for gasoline.
About 65 people from Toboso attended the activity, he said.
For Kabankalan City Mayor Isidro Zayco, he attended the rally in support of Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.
Zayco said the City Government did not spend anything for his trip to Bacolod, which is two hours away from Kabankalan.
The mayor added that he did not bring his constituents to the rally.
Other mayors in Negros Occidental who attended the pro-Duterte rally were Evelio Leonardia of Bacolod City, Nicholas Yulo of Bago City, Alfredo Marañon III of Sagay City, Agustin Ernesto Bascon of Himamaylan City, Emmanuel Aranda of Binalbagan, Jose Nadie Arceo of Hinigaran, Rhumyla Mangilimutan of La Castellana, Lourdes Escalante of Manapla, Magdaleno Peña of Moises Padilla, Jose Benito Alonso of Pontevedra, Marxlen de la Cruz of Salvador Benedicto, Jilson Tubillara of San Enrique, and Enrique Miravalles of Valladolid.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 03, 2017.
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