AS part of the 73rd Cebu City Charter Day celebration tonight, Mayor Tomas Osmeña will treat to dinner some 900 north district barangay officials allied with him after the awarding ceremony.

Osmeña made it clear that he will use his own money to pay for the dinner that will be served to avoid accusations that he is abusing government funds for politicking.

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He will also pay for the electric fans that will be used during the event, as well as the rental of the Cebu City Sports Center gymnasium where the dinner will be served.

Cebu City celebrates today its Charter Day, which is a special non-working day throughout the city. There are also no classes in all levels in the city’s schools.

President Arroyo will lead the City’s guests and awardees, and will be conferred the Order of Rajah Humabon, the highest recognition and award the City can give any individual.

Arroyo will be in Cebu today to accept the award and to inaugurate infrastructure projects.

Her first stop will be Daanbantayan where she will have an inaugural drive through on the newly improved Bogo-Curva-Medellin-Daanbantayan Maya Road.

She will then lead the unveiling of the marker of the Cabancalan-Canduman Bridge in Mandaue City. Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes,

Department of Public Works and Highways 7 Director Josefino Rigor and Cabancalan and Canduman officials will welcome her.

The 300-meter Cabancalan-Canduman Bridge, which cost P30.4 million, was completed last Dec. 5 and is aimed to reduce the traffic congestion in Canduman where subdivisions and the Sacred Heart School of the Society of Jesus are located.

From Mandaue, Arroyo will go to Pier 1 to travel to Tubigon, Bohol by a roll-on roll-off vessel. She will spend the rest of the afternoon in Bohol.

She will be back in Cebu City at 7 p.m. for the Charter Day celebration.

Osmeña decided to host a dinner for the barangay officials tonight to give his guest, vice presidential candidate and Sen.Mar Roxas, the opportunity to mingle with the barangay officials, and for him to update them on what’s going on in the city.

“So the people will not question that I am abusing City Hall funds, I’m paying for the dinner. It’s paid for by private accounts. I’m doing this because I want Mar to spend time with them and this is also a chance to give a talk to the north district officials and give them a briefing on what is going on here,” he said.

In his news conference yesterday, he admitted he has lost touch with some north district officials since he is often in the south district, where he is running for congressman.

He invited 900 barangay captains and councilors from the north district to join him and Roxas for dinner immediately after the awarding ceremony at the sports center.

“There will be 900 barangay officials, but only those identified with me. No (Lahug barangay captain) Mary Ann de los Santos, no (Tinago barangay councilor) Joel Garganera,” the mayor said.

At 8 a.m. today, a mass and a short program will be held at the City Hall grounds, and will be followed by a floral offering at the monument of Don Vicente Rama in Barangay Pahina Central.

The Charter Day awarding ceremony at the sports center will start at 6 p.m., where 28 outstanding institutions and individuals will be recognized for their contributions to Cebu City. (LCR/CYR)