THE Cebu City Government has some P21.8 million generated from the "Piso Mo, Hospital Ko Program" deposited in one of its depository banks, according to the City Accounting Office.
Months after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake heavily damaged the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) in 2013, then mayor Michael Rama launched the program to raise some P1.5 billion for the construction of a new hospital building.
In a report submitted to the City Council last Aug. 7, the accounting office declared that as of Dec. 31, the City had generated P21,795,873.21 through the fund-raising program.
Of the amount, P2.2 million was generated from donations from different local government units, P15.3 million were given by nongovernment organizations, and P2.3 million by foreign groups.
Donations from individuals amounted to P1.4 million, while the national government extended some P363,433. Different departments at City Hall raised P253,039.
But during the regular session last week, questions on the list of personalities abroad who reportedly pledged to extend help for CCMC were raised by majority floor leader Margarita Osmeña.
She referred to the P900 million in pledges Rama and Councilor Joy Pesquera reportedly generated in solicitation from donors in the United States in 2014.
City Accountant Arlene Rentuza, in her report, denied knowledge of a list of foreign pledges as the only recorded list they have are of the donations generated by the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko Program.”
Questions on the whereabouts of the multi-million pledges were first raised by Mayor Tomas Osmeña in his State of the City Address last July 4.
He challenged Pesquera and Rama to show the money and receipts they got from the donations when they went abroad to solicit.
Pesquera said the pledgees are just waiting for the City to send a request asking for the donation.
Hearing this, Councilor Osmeña then asked for the list of the other pledgees of the remaining P800 million.
"It was mentioned that it was just a matter of following it up. If that's the only reason, we have to follow it up," she said.
For Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr., perhaps the suspension of work on the CCMC early last year when the present administration assumed office discouraged the pledgees from making good their word.
But Councilor Osmeña pointed out that although work was ordered stopped until a building permit for the hospital was secured, work returned after two months. Other than that, construction has been going on since its demolition.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on August 22, 2017.
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