NGO open to probe: Bimbo-A A +A
Sunday, February 17, 2013
A FOUNDATION headed by an ally of Rep. Tomas Osmeña is ready to face any investigation on the propriety of their accepting donations from telecommunication companies in Cebu City.
The funds allegedly form part of the compromise between the telcos and the Cebu City Government when Congressman Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) was mayor, so the firms would no longer have to pay franchise taxes.
But Pagtambayayong Foundation head Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday the money they received from the telcos is separate from the funds these gave City Hall as compromise payments.
“That is different from the franchise taxes. Lahi nang gihatag nila sa City, lahi sad ning sa foundation. We are not denying it (that we’re accepting donations). We receive donations from everybody, from other sources. What is important is that we are very transparent about it. Among ipakita giunsa namo paggasto (We are willing to show people how these donations were spent). It is open to everybody,” he said.
Mayor Michael Rama earlier questioned Pagtambayayong’s acceptance of “millions of money” from the telcos.
The foundation is an accredited nongovernment organization of the City and was founded by Fernandez, who is now Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary.
Fernandez was the city administrator when the compromise deal with the telcos was negotiated. Osmeña was mayor.
In an interview, Fernandez said they have properly liquidated the funds and the disbursements were properly documented.
He added that the donation is not an “under the table” arrangement.
“If this was under the table, why would the funds go through Pagtambayayong, where everything is on record? Ilado man (People know us),” he said. He added that the foundation is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Services.
Asked how they spend the money, Fernandez said the funds pay for give medical assistance to poor residents of the city, particularly those who cannot be treated by the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and the Cebu City Medical Center.
Fernandez, though, did not divulge the amount given to them by the telcos every year.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 17, 2013.