‘Why so many vehicles for Malubog?’-A A +A
Thursday, March 14, 2013
BARANGAY Malubog is a small mountain barangay about 13 kms. from Cebu City, but it has five vehicles from the City Government with a sixth one being requested.
The Cebu City Council’s committee on budget and finance, though, questioned the request for a sixth vehicle, a Foton view ambulance worth P1,050,000.
“While this committee sees the importance of an ambulance in a barangay, it should be noted that the barangay’s request was dated in the early part of last year and that several vehicles were already assigned to the barangay,” the report penned by committee chairperson Councilor Margarita Osmeña said.
Osmeña enumerated the five vehicles already given to the barangay: Hyundai ambulance, Isuzu mini-bus, Hyundai mobile transporter, Isuzu elf truck and a Mitsubishi Fusion.
Osmeña also quoted the National Statistics Office in her report that Malubog has a land area of 5,506 sq. kms. with a population of just 2,441.
The committee asked that Malubog Barangay Captain Federico Bontilao provide a baseline data on the number of emergency cases per month and other data that will support the purchase of an additional ambulance.
Bontilao and Mayor Michael Rama said the vehicles given to the barangay are not just for Malubog, but for its surrounding barangays as well.
Malubog’s adjacent barangays are Busay, Babag, Sirao and Pung-ol Sibugay.
Bontilao corrected the report that the barangay’s population is just 2,441, saying there is more. He failed to give the number as it is with the barangay health center.
He said the first ambulance has broken down several times.
“The ambulance covers the other barangays and many times, we ferry a patient to the hospital mostly at CCMC (Cebu City Medical Center) and Sotto (Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center) and before we reach the destination the ambulance bogs down,” Bontilao said in Cebuano.
This is why another ambulance is needed in Malubog and neighboring barangays, he said.
He said that all the vehicles given to the barangay are being used.
The Isuzu mini-bus and Hyundai mobile transporter are used to ferry senior citizens in their monthly meetings in the City proper and for the students’ transport to and from schools because the sitios are far apart.
The Isuzu truck is for garbage collection, while the Mitsubishi Fusion is the service of barangay captains.
He denied that the vehicles are used for political activities.
Rama said there is no limit to how many vehicles a barangay can own as long as these are needed and used.
He opposes the description that Barangay Malubog is a small barangay.
Rama said he wants barangays to be connected and integrated so that if one barangay has a particular vehicle, the neighboring barangays can use the same vehicle.
The mayor also took it as an opportunity to criticize his predecessor and May 13, 2013 mayoral opponent, Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district), whom he claimed to have not prioritized projects for the mountain barangays.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2013.