City releases allowances to village workers

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Friday, December 20, 2013


CEBU City Hall released yesterday two months’ worth of cash assistance to the barangays for the allowances of 880 village chiefs, councilors, youth leaders and other barangay workers.

Acting Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas said City Hall allotted about P7 million for the allowances of barangay officials and workers for October and November.

The separate P6.6-million financial assistance to the barangay, however, may not be released at all as the City Government will have to close its accounts by the end of the year.

City Budget Officer Nelfa Briones said the P6.6-million assistance per barangay was placed under the maintaining and other operating expenses (MOOE) so it cannot be carried over to 2014 if unused in the current year.

The 2014 annual budget approved last Wednesday also did not include funds for the additional assistance to the City’s 80 barangays.

Distribution

The P6.6-million assistance is separate from the allocation for the allowances of barangay officials and employees.

Yesterday, City Hall gave a total of P10,000 (P5,000 per month) to 80 barangay captains; P6,000 (P3,000 per month) to 560 barangay councilors; and P4,000 (P2,000 per month) to barangay secretaries and treasurers.

Sangguniang Kabataaan chairpersons from 80 barangays, whose term ended last November, got P6,000 (P3,000 per month) each.

Cuevas said City Hall deducted a 10-percent withholding tax from the allowances.

She said newly elected barangay officials do not get allowances yet because they only assumed office last Dec. 1.

Cuevas said barangay officials who failed to claim their allowances yesterday can get the aid from the City Treasurer's office.

Seniors

Most of the barangay officials went to City Hall yesterday to claim their incentives.

Raquel Avila, former Kasambangan councilor now barangay captain, said the distribution of the allowances is timely. She added that they can use the funds for the barangay's Christmas party.

Cuevas also announced that the distribution of financial assistance for about 60,000 senior citizens will push through on Dec. 21.

Instead of a two-day distribution, City Hall decided to distribute the assistance simultaneously on Saturday.

The elderly will receive P2,000 each. Since City Hall gave each elderly P6,000 of the P10,000 promised by Mayor Rama, senior citizens still have P2,000 to collect from the local government.

City has set aside P120 million for the distribution.

Cuevas said, though, that the distribution of assistance to persons with disabilities (PWDs) has yet to be set.

The City set aside a total P22 million for about 11,000 PWDs. PWDs still have to collect P2,000 each from City Hall, which promised an assistance of P5,000 this year.

Former councilor now executive assistant Eduardo Rama Jr. said the P6.6-million fund was not released to barangays that were unable to liquidate or account for their earlier assistance.

Liquidation

He denied the allegation by former mayor and congressman Tomas Osmeña that the assistance was not released because City Hall did not have enough funds.

“Some barangays failed to liquidate the financial assistance from the City since 2010 and 2011. So pending the accounting/liquidation, the financial assistance could not be released. But we're helping them,” Eduardo told Sun.Star Cebu.

City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas said her office released the financial assistance to three barangays, which she declined to name.

The City Government, on other hand, found a way to untangle the snag involving one its fund sources.

City Hall and Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) have reached a resolution to the issue surrounding the local government’s share of the sale of condominium units at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Statement

City Hall and FLI released a joint statement yesterday stating that the developer “has not been remiss in its obligations” to the local government under a joint venture condominium project.

The statement came after a meeting in Manila between Mayor Michael Rama and FLI officials last Tuesday.

A letter from City Attorney Jerone Castillo earlier this month demanding payment of about P500 million, which represents the City Government’s share of the sale of residential condominium units at the SRP, prompted the meeting.

City Hall threatened to file a case against FLI, saying only P159 million has been remitted so far under the joint venture agreement.

But the joint statement, signed Castillo and FLI first vice president for the Visayas and Mindanao Tristan Las Marias, stated that the private firm has paid a total of P1.42 billion for the 50.6-hectare Citta de Mare condominium project at the SRP.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 20, 2013.

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