Sunday, October 24, 2021

Ong hits City Hall for ‘politicizing’ distribution of cash aid to brgys

POLITICIZED DISTRIBUTION. Cebu City Councilor Franklyn Ong is accusing City Hall officials of allegedly playing favorites with some barangays during a recent distribution of cash aid earlier this month. / SunStar file

CEBU City Councilor Franklyn Ong is accusing City Hall officials of allegedly playing favorites with some barangays during a cash aid distribution earlier in September 2021.

Ong, also Cebu City’s Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president, claimed that villages not allied with the current administration were treated unfairly and were allegedly harassed in trying to receive the cash assistance from the City.

Ong made the claim during a privilege speech before the Cebu City Council during its weekly session on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.

Ong said it all started on Sept. 1, 2021, when the City initially distributed cash checks to 30 barangays at Fort San Pedro.

He said the 30 barangays that first received the cash aid from the City were allied with the current administration.

SunStar Cebu tried to get the list of the 30 barangays that first received their checks, but the list was unavailable as of writing.

The financial assistance for barangays, worth P143.5 million, was made possible after acting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama signed a memorandum on August 18 for its implementation.

The allocation received per barangay depended on its population.

The barangays were requested to use the cash aid for the purchase of medicines, vitamins, and other Covid-19-related supplies intended for those households whose owners are under home isolation; for households affected by a clustered lockdown; and for the poorest of the poor and the indigent.

After seeing that the 30 barangays had received their cash aid, Ong said he decided to check on what happened to the cash aid for the remaining 50 barangays.

But Ong was reportedly told that the checks were still pending before the City Treasurer’s Office.

Ong requested the City Government, especially the Mayor’s office, City Administrator’s Office, City Accounting Office, City Treasurer’s Office, and Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, who chairs the committee on budget and finance, to treat and render service “fairly” to the 80 barangays, especially when it comes to Covid-19 related aid.

“As president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, I would like to make an appeal to the City Government not to politicize our Covid-19 response,” Ong said.

He said his office submitted on August 25 the first batch of affidavits of commitment and undertaking from 59 barangays to the City Accounting Office.

The affidavits were a pre-audit requirement needed before the cash assistance could be released to the barangays.

Garcia, in an interview on Sept. 9, said he still has to check from the City Accounting Office, City Treasurer’s Office, and City Administrator’s Office on why some checks for other barangays were not released yet.

He said he will raise the matter on Tuesday, Sept. 14, during the meeting with members of the City’s Local Finance Committee.

Garcia said he went to the event at the Fort San Pedro on Sept. 1 as a guest.

He said he was not aware who among the barangay captains were present during the releasing of the first batch of checks.

Garcia assured Ong he will be reporting to him once he gets the answers of the concerned offices on why some checks got delayed. (JJL)


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