Council keeps lid on free fuel-A A +A
Thursday, March 21, 2013
THE Cebu City Council wants the City Government’s P88.9-million budget for fuel, oil and lubricants this year to be used solely for City-owned vehicles.
During its regular session yesterday, the council rejected the proposal of Councilor Jose Daluz III seeking to tap the allocation to buy fuel for vehicles issued by the National Government to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), among others.
Daluz’s proposal came as an amendatory ordinance, which was set for final deliberation yesterday, seeking to delete a “restricting” provision in the appropriation ordinance covering the City’s P5.19-billion budget for 2013.
The councilor wanted to amend the provision in the budget ordinance, which states that the fuel allocation of P88,995,078.50 for 2013 can only be used for City-owned vehicles, including those assigned to the barangays.
“I want this provision to be deleted because we are restricted. We are not allowed to give fuel, oil and lubricants to other government agencies. We can no longer service fire trucks and denying police vehicles of fuel. This put us in a very bad situation,” he said.
Also, the City can no longer give fuel to vehicles purchased independently by the barangays, he said.
However, the council, dominated by the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), voted 13 against two to reject Daluz’s proposal and upheld the original provision of the appropriation ordinance.
Apart from Daluz, the only member of the council who voted in favor of the amendment is Councilor Edgardo Labella. Both are allies of Mayor Michael Rama.
Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr., the mayor’s nephew, was absent.
Others who were also absent were Councilors Rodrigo Abellanosa and Raul Alcoseba.
What Daluz is proposing is an old practice of City Hall.
Based on the records of the General Services Office, the City Government gives multicabs 50 liters of fuel each per month; 100 liters for light vehicles; and 20 liters for motorcycles.
In an interview, Councilor Margot Osmeña, chairperson of the council’s committee on budget and finance, defended the council’s decision to limit the use of fuel.
“We have so many vehicles and we keep on buying vehicles, then we’ll provide gasoline for them. There is a certain limit we have to establish. So of course, priority is the City-owned vehicles,” she said.
Asked if it will not hamper the delivery of services of the police and the City Fire Station, Osmeña said: “I’m not sure. I don’t want to answer something I’m not sure about. It could be a problem but again, we have to put our priorities in order.”
Rama, in a separate interview, said he will continue giving fuel to the CCPO and BFP.
He pointed out that the mayor usually gets the blame if the police and firefighters cannot immediately respond to emergencies.
“I cannot afford to watch that happen,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2013.