COA clears Baguio’s ‘overpriced’ Christmas tree-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Sunday, March 17, 2013
THE Commission on Audit (COA) recently reported there was no overpricing in Baguio City’s building of a giant Christmas tree in Upper Session Road.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the COA report belied allegations that the city’s giant Christmas tree, standing atop Session Road, was overpriced.
The mayor said the Christmas tree, which still stands until now, three months after the Christmas celebrations, was used as an additional city decoration during the Panagbenga Festival.
He said that with the COA inspection and report done, the city will have the contractor to immediately demolish the tree, which almost covers the stone sculptures of the first Baguio Commissioners.
He added the COA report proves there was no anomaly in the city’s hiring of a contractor to build a Christmas tree for P600,000 as it went through proper bidding procedures.
“This was carefully evaluated by the audit. Now that it is done, the contractor can do its job to dismantle it,” Domogan said.
He said if ever the contractor does not dismantle the tree, the City Government, through the City Building and Architecture Office, will take on the task and will recover the fund for the dismantling from the contractor.
The city mayor was earlier implicated in the alleged overpriced Christmas tree in a case filed before the Ombudsman by his fellow mayoralty candidate Peter Puzon last January.
The complainant then questioned what he claims as an over expense in constructing the 20-foot Christmas tree made up of green plastic netting, steel pipes and artificial wreath cord, which based on his personal canvassing, the prices of materials for the tree would not amount to P600,00 as mentioned in the bid.
Puzon then sought last January for the Ombudsman’s investigation on what he claims as violations of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act and for the preventive suspension of the mayor.
But the mayor dismissed these allegations saying these were all politically motivated and accusations based on speculations and not supported by documents.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 18, 2013.