CIPC board of trustees quit-A A +A
Thursday, September 5, 2013
THE board of trustees of the Cebu Investment Promotions Center (CIPC) resigned en masse, making some Cebu City councilors worry that it may have “a serious effect” on promoting the city.
During the council’s regular session Wednesday, Councilor Hanz Abella, in a privilege speech, said that five members of the board filed their “consolidated resignation” before the Securities and Exchange Commission last June 28.
It took effect last June 30.
Those who resigned are Geronimo Sta. Ana (chairman), Augusto Go (vice chairman), Sabino Dapat (treasurer), Rogelio Lim (trustee) and Enrique Benedicto (trustee).
“I am greatly concerned regarding the recent resignation of the members of the board.
I am therefore constrained to ask this legitimate question as to why these gentlemen with strength, character, dignity, and integrity have tendered their consolidated resignation without first conveying to the City Government the reasons or the problems, if there are any,” Abella said.
“It is imperative that we be enlightened on the problem that seemingly besets CIPC in order for us to be guided accordingly and for us to know whether the investment strategies being undertaken by CIPC in promotion of Cebu City will not be seriously affected,” he said.
During Wednesday’s council session, Abella said the city has the right to know the reasons behind the mass resignation, as it has a stake in the organization that has received millions in funds annually.
For this year, the city’s financial assistance for CIPC is P5.4 million. The proposal of the executive department was only P4 million but the council increased it to P5.4 million.
Abella is requesting those who resigned to appear before the legislative body in an executive session to shed light on the matter.
He said he was able to read the resignation letter but it was brief and the board did not cite any reason for their move.
However, Abella’s motion was denied after the majority bloc in the council, 14 of them, voted against it. Only four members of the minority voted in favor.
Councilor Gerardo Carillo opposed Abella’s move, saying it is not within the jurisdiction of the council to look into the matters of a private organization.
“I don’t think it is proper for the council to inquire (about) the motive of the people who are resigning from a private organization. It’s an intra-corporate matter, which the City does not have any business in. As far as the changing of the guards, that is not our interest. It is their personal or business decision, which the City does not and should not dwell on,” he said.
Carillo said the city should only be interested in CIPC matters if there was any sign the P5.4-million financial assistance had been misused.
Councilor Margarita Osmeña pointed out that the city has not yet released the P5.4 million to CIPC and the memorandum of agreement for the release of funds has not yet been signed.
Abella, though, insisted on his motion.
“This is not normal, considering that all members of the board tendered their resignation,” he said.
Councilor James Cuenco supported Abella and added that there must be a compelling reason for the members of the board to resign altogether.
Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos also supported Abella, saying she doesn’t see why the council should not give weight to the mass resignation, considering that the city has been giving millions to the promotions council.
Carillo retorted that if they will entertain the CIPC concern, then the council would have to entertain the concerns of the more than 100 organizations that receive financial aid from the City.
“This will set a precedent,” he said.
The councilor then suggested for the council to refer the matter to the special body of the city that accredits non-government organizations.
Osmeña, for her part, suggested to the council to request CIPC to submit an accomplishment report on how they used the funds from the city in the previous years.
Carillo added that the city should not be alarmed by the mass resignation, saying “there are always changes in the democratic system.”
But Cuenco said he is really curious why the members of the board resigned.
“I am also surprised because I noticed that this issue has divided this body to the extent that I can see political color behind the statements of each individual, which makes me curious even more. So I am supporting Councilor Abella on this,” he said.
This prompted the council to declare a three-minute recess.
When the session resumed, Abella reiterated his first motion, prompting Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella to divide the house.
Since majority of the council voted against the board of trustees’ appearance, Abella’s motion was “killed”.
CIPC is an organization tasked to promote Cebu Province and Cebu City, including the marketing of the 300-hectare South Road Properties (SRP).
In his regular news conference Wednesday, Mayor Michael Rama said he knows the reason behind the mass resignation but is not the right person to say it.
“I cannot be a spokesperson for them,” he said.
Asked if the mass resignation will affect the marketing of the SRP, Rama said it will not, saying that he has already delegated the task to the SRP Management Office headed by Roberto “Bo” Varquez.
Rama made the move when he started his second term last July 1.
In a separate interview, lawyer Augusto Go, one of those who resigned, said the group did so to give Rama a free hand to choose other persons.
“That was a courtesy resignation. I’ve been there for a long time and we are becoming busy and old. We need new blood under the Rama leadership,” said Go, 78.
Now president of the University of Cebu, among other organizations, Go had served as Cebu City vice mayor in 1986 and 1987. (With Elias O. Baquero/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 05, 2013.