BARANGAY officials who did not return their vehicles to Cebu City’s General Services Office (GSO) for inventory have not been allowed to get fuel from the City’s depot at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Tisa Barangay Captain and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Philip Zafra said that since Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña issued the memorandum on the recall of City-issued vehicles last May 17, he has been using his own money for the fuel of the three vehicles issued to his barangay and the ABC office.

He said the vehicles are used to respond to emergency situations and roving of tanods in Tisa, and for the ABC personnel’s errands in different barangays.

For one vehicle alone, Zafra said, he has to buy 20 liters of fuel a day.

“Some of our barangay councilors have had to shell out money from their own pocket just so our tanods can do their roving, just so we can respond to emergencies. I just hope that the officials concerned realize that we are not using these vehicles for our own convenience,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

Ordered return

In a phone interview yesterday, Ronald Malacora, Osmeña’s special assistant to the GSO, confirmed that they have stopped supplying fuel to vehicles that were not returned for the inventory.

He said the vehicles were already ordered returned by the mayor, yet some barangay captains continue to hang on to them.

“I’m not sure if the acting mayor issued a memorandum not to give them fuel but on our part, for the purpose of the recall of vehicles, we will not give their fuel allocation kay gipauli na gud unta. Once the vehicle is re-issued to them, the fuel allocation will resume,” Malacora said.

As of yesterday noon, around 40 vehicles have yet to be returned by 28 barangays to the GSO.

Barangays Sambag 1 and Calamba were among those that returned their City Hall-issued vehicles to the GSO parking bay at the SRP yesterday.

Osmeña told a press conference yesterday that she will leave the matter to the City Attorney’s Office to deal with the concerned barangay officials.

In separate interviews yesterday, Zafra and Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman said they will wait for the reply of Osmeña to the letter of suspended Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who sought a clarification on what vehicles are exempted from the memorandum.

Since Osmeña earlier said that vehicles used by emergency units are exempted, Zafra said they want to know from the acting mayor if the vehicles issued to their barangays are also exempted since these are also used to respond to emergencies.

Zafra clarified that he was issued only three vehicles and not four as Osmeña claimed.

He said the Mitsubishi L300 van is for the roving of the tanods and trips of the gender and development personnel. The Mitsubishi Strada is used to respond to emergency situations and the Mitsubishi Adventure is assigned to the ABC office at the SRP for the use of their engineers and bookkeepers who visit the barangays.

Zafra reiterated that the vehicles have a multi-purpose use and are sometimes used for emergencies, so they should remain with the barangays.

“Vice Mayor Labella sent the letter to Margot’s office today. In that letter, we are seeking clarification so we’ll wait for the reply before we decide if we should return the vehicles,” Ayuman said.

As for the fuel of their City Hall-issued vehicles, he said their barangay has always set aside funds for fuel, so the order to refuse them fuel allocation does not affect their operations.