Tuesday July 17, 2018

Rama: No list of potential donors for City Hall

FORMER Cebu City mayor Michael Rama said he can’t disclose the names of the foreign individuals and entities who pledged to extend funds amounting to P900 million for the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) since he is “bound by confidentiality.”

Rama told SunStar Cebu that since the transactions were made by him during his term, he can’t just give out the list to the present administration to protect the interest of potential donors.

“What is their (administration) problem? Why are they demanding it now when in the first place, the pledges were made during my term, not theirs? Most importantly, why would I put at stake the identities of those who pledged and end up compromising their trust and confidence?” he said. “These problems involving CCMC would not be complicated if only I were in office. I can’t trust the list to the present administration since I am wary if he (Mayor Osmeña) is really concerned with the hospital. He even wanted to sell it before.”

Months after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake heavily damaged the CCMC in 2013, Rama launched the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko Program” to raise some P1.5 billion for the construction of a new hospital building.

To generate more funds, Rama, together with Councilor Joy Pesquera, left for the United States in 2014 to solicit abroad. When they returned, the two reportedly announced that they have raised close to P1 billion in pledges.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña, in his State of the City Address last July 4, challenged Rama and Pesquera to show the money and receipts they got from the donations.

Two weeks later, the City Council approved a resolution drafted by majority floor leader Margot Osmeña requesting the City Accounting Office to furnish a list of all those who pledged help for CCMC.

However, 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.”

In a report submitted to the council last Aug. 7, the accounting office declared that as of Dec. 31, 2016, the City had generated P21,795,873.21 through the fund-raising program.

Pesquera has said the pledgees abroad are just waiting for the City Government to send a request asking for the donation.

Sought for comment, Councilor Osmeña said that while the City can’t force Rama and Pesquera, they should remember that the pledges were intended for CCMC, and not promised to a person.

“How could there be confidentiality when he (Rama) was very public when he announced the existence of such pledges? Maybe there really was none because I don’t see a legitimate reason why they can’t present the list. The pledges were not for a person, but for the hospital,” she said. (RTF)