Ombud asked: Probe Paglaum Basurero group

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

THE Cebu City Council has asked the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to investigate the private group that allegedly collected registration fees for a seminar that the Cebu City Government is conducting for free.

Councilor Gerardo Carillo has sponsored a resolution asking the anti-graft office to investigate Paglaum Basurero 20/20 following the several complaints that the legislative body had received from business establishments on the unauthorized collection of registration fees.

To recall, Paglaum Basurero had conducted a seminar about the formulation of the Environment Sustainability Action Plan (Esap) to the business establishments last September. Each establishment was asked to pay P700 as registration fee for the activity.

Councilor Nida Cabrera, chairperson of the council’s committee on environment, said the group’s seminar was attended by at least 2,758 business establishments, which means the organizer earned a total of P2,068,500 from the activity.

No cost

Cabrera pointed out that the seminar is being conducted by the City’s Solid Waste Management Board (SWMB) at no cost to the attendees.

The formulation of Esap by business establishments is mandated under City Ordinance 2243, otherwise known as the Sustainable Development Ordinance of Cebu.

The Esap is needed for a business establishment to get or renew their business or mayor’s permit.

Paglaum Basurero 20/20, which is headed by Francis Paragas, is a member of SWMB.

In an earlier interview, Paragas had explained that the registration fee they collect for the Esap seminar was used to cover the costs for the venue, food, training materials and the honorarium for the speakers, among others.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 01, 2014.

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