"This administration erroneously believes that government is a savings bank."
-- Former governor Gwen Garcia
OPPOSITION One Cebu Party contends that administration Liberal Party has been hoarding funds instead of spending for social projects and development of the province.
Argue no more on whether Cebu Province is rich, only as to who made it so: Former governor Gwen Garcia said she raised Cebu's assets from P5 billion to P28 billion during her first term (2004-2007). Gov. Junjun Davide said that in the second year of his Term One (2013-2016), Cebu had an equity of P28.181 billion, the country's richest.
Gwen said records back her claim. Junjun cited COA ranking of LGUs. Who should get the credit? The public needs to know how much money Gwen got when she assumed office in 2004 and when she exited in 2013 and how much Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, as Gwen's temp during her suspension, and Junjun as new governor inherited in 2013.
But Cebu may have always been rich because, COA figures say, of its P28 billion assets, P27 billion is in properties, plants and equipment and P188.2 million is in investments: funds are budgeted and spent only if they're converted to cash.
Still, P2.76 billion as 2014 income was not measly. And Junjun spent P2.11 billion of it. Was he hoarding?
To assess fairly, Junjun's spending must also be compared with Gwen's. By 2014, when Capitol finances "stabilized," Junjun had just one year in office. From 2007, when Capitol assets rose "from P5 billion to P28 billion" until her term's end, she had six years to do the spending.
For a comparison not to confuse, the public needs more information and review of the expenses. Worse than not using public money is using it badly.
There was one governor who once took pride of all the cash he left at Capitol. Good for his successor, who promptly spent it.