A waste of government funds-A A +A
Sunday, October 13, 2013
WHEN Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale took over the helm at the Capitol following the six-month suspension of then governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Magpale kept on saying the Capitol was almost bankrupt. She said the Capitol could not embark on ambitious projects and couldn’t even pay its numerous suppliers because it had no money and was merely relying on its monthly share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) from the National Government.
That was 10 months ago. When Gwen returned to the Capitol weeks before her term ended last June 30, she attempted to release several millions of pesos to pay her favored suppliers, including the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of her father, former second district representative Pablo Garcia, which was entrusted to the Provincial Government. However, she failed because the accounting department and the provincial treasurer, maybe upon the instructions of Magpale and incoming Gov. Hilario Davide III, refused to sign any document pertaining to the release of funds. That was four months ago.
Is the Capitol now financially stable?
I pose this question in view of the controversial scheduled travel of 10 Provincial Board members to New York next month to attend a weeklong drug rehabilitation seminar that will cost the Capitol some P2 million. The estimated expenses for every participant is P200,000. And P2 million in any language is P2 million. The amount is enough to buy additional medicines for indigent patients in various district hospitals.
Neophyte Third District PB Member Gigi Sanchez-Zaballero, the proponent of the move, said attending the Nov. 10-17 seminar is part of their job. The Daytop Rehabilitation Village in New York invited them.
What job is Zaballero talking about? I would like to remind her that the job of a PB member is to legislate and not to implement laws.
During the campaign period, she promised her constituents that once elected she will serve them with your utmost dedication to improve their condition.
Zaballero said that “we have to save those drug users out there so that they can go back to the mainstream of our society and have a good future.” There is no problem with that. I can understand her concern because her only brother is hooked on drugs.
Despite his repeated rehabilitation, he has yet to kick the habit. It has caused his family numerous headaches and public embarrassments.
Is Capitol now into the drug rehabilitation business or is planning to engage in one?
Leave that to other government agencies that are in the forefront in the fight against drugs like the National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Health.
Will what they learn in the seminar be applicable to our local setting? Rehab facilities in the US are very sophisticated. We cannot one for lack of funds. Look at the drug rehabilitation center in Argao. It needs further improvement.
In its website, Daytop Village is a drug addiction treatment organization with facilities in New York and New Jersey. It was founded in 1963 by Dr. Daniel Casriel along with Msgr. William O’Brien, a Roman Catholic priest and founder and president of the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities. Daytop was originally a kind of “half-way house” for convicted addicts.
The Daytop program, one of the oldest drug treatment programs in the US, is based on a therapeutic community model that emphasizes the role of peer interaction in their modes of treatment. Considered one of the most successful programs of its kind, it is described as a supportive emotional community where people feel secure but at the same time are held accountable for their behavior. It is estimated that 85 percent of those treated stay clean.
Sus, mao ra diay ning programaha atong adtuon ug gastuhan og dako sa US? This is a plain and simple junket and a total waste of government funds. There are so many professionals and experts in this kind of field who can do it here. Or in order to save millions of pesos why can’t they just send one or two participants. Send Zaballlero there so she can help her brother. Or maybe invite the expert to conduct a lecture here with the Capitol shouldering the expenses.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 14, 2013.