BCLP moves elections to Jan. 11

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

FORMER congressman and former mayor Tomas Osmeña told members of the Barangay Councilors’ League in the Philippines (BCLP) Cebu City that the City Government is already “scraping at the bottom of the barrel.”

He said that the barangays should no longer expect that the P6.6-million financial assistance will be given this year.

Osmeña also claimed during the BLCP general assembly Tuesday night that selling the South Road Properties (SRP) will not be sustainable.

“Sooner or later we might have to sell Magellan’s Cross or City Hall,” said Osmeña.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who came to the assembly first and left, was not as preachy as his predecessor when he talked to the barangay councilors.

Instead, he encouraged the league to help the Cebu City Government.

Most members of the league were not as worried about the lack of money as they were about the coming BCLP elections.

Councilmen allied with Team Rama were prepared to have the elections last Tuesday but the body decided to have it on Jan. 11.

The term of the officers of BCLP, headed by Cebu City and national president Franklyn Ong, ended last Nov. 30.

New councilors, particularly those allied with Team Rama, no longer acknowledge him as president. They wanted to hold the elections as soon as possible so that the league will continue to be represented.

Ong said that league elections usually happen between February and April.

Camputhaw Councilman Atty. Raymond Alvin Garcia moved that a date be set. It was seconded by Tinago Councilwoman Edith Fernandez.

Ong wanted more time because the elections would need the budget, which would be taken from the City’s coffers, and the league would need more time to facilitate.

Punta Princesa Councilwoman Grace Baquero also said that there is no BCLP “administration” to speak of because its term ended when the previous administration’s term ended last Nov. 30.

But since there was already a move and was duly seconded, Ong was forced to set the elections on Jan. 11, which was approved by the body.

Team Rama came prepared with Garcia, posed to run for president, and his entire slate wearing the signature yellow and green shirt. The group even had sample ballots with them.

Ong’s group was without sample ballots as of Tuesday night, but he said that the lineup is already complete. It was just a matter of finalizing the candidates, he said.

When Baquero took the microphone from the night’s emcee Tejero Councilman Garry Lao, the crowd cheered loudly.

The two will be facing each other for the position of secretary. Baquero is running under Garcia’s slate, while the Lao is with Ong.

While it was called a general assembly, the event was personally sponsored by Ong.

“I have to do this to say thank you,” said Ong, who also presented certificates to outgoing members and conducted the oath of office of the incoming members.

Some officials like Councilor Lea Japson, Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa (Cebu City, south district) and Osmeña, sponsored money for the raffle prizes.

Garcia did not mind that Ong personally spent for the event, discounting it as vote buying.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 19, 2013.

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