Workers: Where did our packed meals go?

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Monday, November 5, 2012

ALL Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in Cebu City were generally peaceful, but some barangay tanods, traffic enforcers and parking aides did not receive their packed meals while they were watching the city’s streets and cemeteries.

City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) executive director Atty. Rafael Yap got feedback from his personnel that some of the traffic enforcers and parking aides he fielded during the holiday failed to receive any food.

Yap said there were an estimated 400 Citom personnel who were deployed on Oct. 31 and on Nov. 1 and 2. He, however, cannot specify how many personnel failed to get fed.


Philip Zafra, Mayor Michael Rama’s chief of staff and head of the peace and order program of the City Government, also received complaints from some barangay tanods that they did not get their food while working during the holiday.

He has asked his personnel to submit a report to him today on how many tanods were on duty last week and how many of them did not get their packed meals. He will also ask Citom to render a report.


In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Zafra said he expected some people not to get packed meals from the City Government, considering that City Hall prepared only 1,500 meals per day for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and 2.

“We only prepared 1,500 meals kay wa man ta kahibaw pod pila ang mo-duty sa ila labi na sa mga auxiliary forces nato like the tanods (We did not know how many would go on duty, especially the auxiliary forces like the tanods). It really depended on how many would work or not,” he said.

Aside from this, Zafra said the City doesn’t have a budget for the meals.

He recalled requesting for about P500,000 for the purchase of packed meals. The appropriation was supposed to be charged to the City’s share from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), but the appropriation has not yet been approved and is still pending with the City Council.

Councilor Edgardo Labella filed a resolution to cover the matter during the council’s session last Oct. 24 but it was referred to the council’s committee on budget and finance chaired by Councilor Margarita Osmeña.


It has been the standing policy of the legislative body that all charges to the City’s Pagcor funds must first be referred to the budget and finance committee for report and recommendation.

Zafra said, though, that during their meeting with the tanods and other uniformed
personnel before the All Saints and All Souls’ Days, they were made to understand that not all of them will get meals.

They were told that the City will be giving priority to those auxiliary forces who don’t receive salaries, particularly the volunteers, he said.

“Kung naa man galing sobra, mao na lay ila kay limited ra man gyud atong supply. Okay ra man sad sa ila (They were told they would only get the packed meals if there were any left, because our supplies were limited. They were okay with that),” he added.

Besides, the tanods, traffic enforcers, and parking aides, Zafra said, are paid employees and given honoraria, and it is part of their duties to render services on special occasions like the recent holiday.

In a separate interview, Yap said he hopes that the City will allocate a bigger budget and improve the system of distributing the food by next year.


He said some of his personnel failed to get their packed meals since they themselves were asked to get their food, but some decided not to leave their area of responsibility.

“You don’t expect them to pull out man sad, in order to prevent untoward incident,” he told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

Aside from this, Yap said he hopes that those who will be given packed meals are those who are really rendering service.

“Basin ang uban wa ra kaayo nagtrabaho. I would’ve wanted all those who really worked, to get the meals. These shouldn’t be given based on whether one gets a salary or not from the City,” the Citom chief said.

The absence of the packed meals, Yap said, did not affect the service rendered by the Citom personnel.

“But it certainly affected their morale,” he added.

Both Yap and Zafra apologized to the tanods, traffic enforcers, and parking aides who failed to get their packed meals.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 05, 2012.

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