City Hall tongue twister

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By Dr. Bob Ocio

Isyo ug Servicio

Saturday, March 8, 2014


"CITY hall denied that Gaston Park’s fountainheads have been lost and that the project to give the landmark a makeover was started without a bidding," another daily news in Oro read.

Two things here: First, the "lost fountainheads and second, the denial by City Hall that the Gaston Park Project was indeed implemented before the bidding.

First, they showed us pictures of the fountainheads and if you can recall, it was Mrs. Moreno who posted at Facebook that the fountainheads were gone during the Emano administration. She then, apologized when shown pictures of the fountainheads during the rally against corruption at the Gaston Park blaming an informant from the City Engineer’s Office.

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That's why she was scolded earlier for feeding us false information noting that the circumstances of the project was under a cloud of doubt. I asserted that there was no bidding nor council appropriation to the tune of over P70 million and without the necessary program of works to support the City Investment Plan and thus, her false claim was rendered suspect.

In fairness, MRS. MORENO EVEN ASKED FOR SUPPORT which I acknowledged provided that the following parameters were followed: God Centered, Honest, Equitable, Ethical, Transparent, Accountable, Participatory, Environmentally Conscious and Sustainable character of governance. She proceeded to thank us. Done. Fine.

Second and now, here comes the complication. City Hall blamed us using the emotion, "Mrs. Moreno was hurt by the controversy." Then proceeded with a tongue twister: The denial that Gaston Park project was implemented before the bidding. Is the Moreno administration being HONEST? Let's check the facts and I maintain the same stand with an album of pictures of construction before the posted bidding and the article I wrote in September 2013.

Gaston Park – P5 M Construction before Bidding? September 10, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.

The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) posted for Cagayan de Oro City the P5 million renovation of Gaston Park with Notices for Bidding which should close by September 12, 2013. Meanwhile, CDOdev.com on its page posted pictures dated September 8, 2013 and was shared in social media that in fact, the project construction has already started, that was 4 days before the actual bidding shall have been accomplished. Another set of pictures conducted by our source dated Sept.10, 2013 , confirms the same.

The issue was muddled by the Committee co-chairperson

Muddling the issue was Mr. Tito Mora, who claimed to be the co-chairperson of the projects of the city’s First Lady who immediately rebuked and asked me about the veracity of my information and falsely claimed that those pictures are not recent and the date was simply superimposed utterly claiming that CDOdev.com has given us false information.

So, I rechecked and I was terribly shocked to know that Tito might have lied and thought he could get away with it, thinking that I have no means to verify my story. I now have pictures dated September 10, 2013 which made me suspicious of a coverup of the irregularity and confirmed the story that the construction and renovation might have started before the actual bidding ala "Lutong Macao." In fairness, My brod, Tito Mora also acknowledged that he was mistaken. Noted.

Is this HONEST, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and PARTICIPATORY? Of course not.

Our question is not yet about the need for projects like this. The question is founded on the function of the government to ensure that contracts are not rigged to favor cronies of the powers that be in the guise of development.

Later, I found out that over P70 million in public funds were used without an enabling City ordinance and that the City Investment Plan covering the same was submitted to the City Council after the project has already been implemented.

Transparency and regularity of public biddings

The public was enraged by a system which allowed one man to rule in a city without a question. That cannot happen, if we are to institute fundamental changes from a corrupt to a vigilant, vibrant and participative bureaucracy. We cannot reject corruption without rejecting the failure to ensure the regularity of our public biddings and procurement systems.

The PHILGEPS data must be used properly to advance public knowledge so that fair bidding can be observed and the interests to arrive and spend the most reasonable and fair costs of public infrastructure should be achieved.

Constructing ahead of the public bidding is therefore irregular and anomalous and these questions must be addressed properly. This questions therefore must be addressed not on the premise that our intention is to destroy the Moreno administration but to advance the public interest.

Let it be determined therefore that the KAGAY-ANONS DESERVE THEIR FREEDOMS BY DEMANDING FREEDOM ITSELF for governance is not about the governors but it is about the governed and the people themselves.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 09, 2014.

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