Compromise on CCMC rehabilitation-A A +A
Saturday, October 26, 2013
TODAY, campaigning is no longer allowed. That is what the law says. The campaign period for tomorrow’s barangay elections ended yesterday. We all know, of course, that, like most other statutes, the Election Code is honored more in the breach than in the observance. In fact, the “art” of convincing the voters will take another –-and more vicious-–shape today. Campaign materials will be distributed inside envelopes that also contain a few hundred pesos.
Why are candidates willing to spend a fortune (small but fortune nevertheless) to be elected barangay captain or councilor? Is it the pay? Rappler says a barangay captain is entitled to a basic honorarium of P1,000 monthly, a councilor P600. But the monthly pay can go as high as P23,044 for the village chief and P17,255 for the councilor, depending on the availability of funds.
In addition, a barangay official can draw Christmas bonus of at least P1,000, receives insurance coverage for temporary and permanent disability, accident and death. He also gets free medical care in government hospitals, free tuitions for two of his legitimate dependent children in public schools, civil service eligibility and preference in appointment to government positions after his term ends.
A corrupt barangay official can earn more from protection money from illegal gambling operators and drug lords. Every now and then, he also gets gifts from the congressman of his district and from the governor. These gifts can be in the form of cash or projects that he can encash with conspiring contractors.
Not all candidates are running for the money, whether from legal or illegal sources. I know because some of them are my friends. I’d like to see how they will fare tomorrow: Joel Garganera in Tinago, Danny Lariba in Sambag 1, Rey Ompoc in Mabolo and Malcom Sanchez in Mantuyong, Mandaue.
Mayor Mike Rama and BOPK councilors are on a collision course again, but this time I’d like to believe that this is strictly a policy difference and politics has nothing to do with it.
The disagreement stems from the treatment of the Cebu City Medical Center which sustained heavy damage from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Cebu and Bohol on October 15. The mayor wants the hospital demolished to give way to a new and bigger CCMC, to be known henceforth as the CCMed. The council thinks the current building is still worth saving and is pushing for retrofitting.
Each position has its own advantages and disadvantages. A new and bigger CCMC can provide better medical services to more patients but the cost is almost prohibitive: P1 billion. On the other hand, retrofitting expenses will probably be in the vicinity of a hundred million pesos, which can be readily sourced from the city’s calamity funds, but how safe will the building be?
Maybe, a compromise can be had by adopting both proposals as long-term and short-term solutions. Plan on a new city hospital, continue to raise money for it and when the funds are ready, build it, say, at F. Ramos St. where the public market is. If, the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” fund drive, hits P1 billion next year, let’s start the construction of the CCMed.
But while we are raising money and in order not to deprive indigent Cebu City families of medical care, let’s repair the CCMC. I heard that a retrofitted CCMC has an estimated lifetime of 15 years. If we’re able to build the new hospital before that period, let’s put the old on the lease market.
What about it ladies and gentlemen?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2013.