4 Mandaue councilors: P4M coaster for tourism center ‘not a priority'

4 Mandaue councilors: P4M coaster for tourism center ‘not a priority'
Photo by Honey Cotejo

FOUR city councilors in Mandaue have abstained from voting on a draft ordinance that would allow the City Government to purchase a P4-million coaster for the Mandaue Investment Promotions Tourism Action Center (Miptac), saying it is not a priority.

During the regular session of the Mandaue City Council on Monday, March 11, 2024, Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, Andreo Icalina, Joel Seno, and Cesar Cabahug Jr. abstained from voting on Draft Ordinance (DO) 08-2024 titled "An Ordinance authorizing Mayor Jonas Cortes to purchase one unit vehicle 29 seaters coaster in the amount of P4.020 million to be used by Miptac for City events" for its second reading.

Not a priority

In an interview with the media, Soon-Ruiz defended her decision to abstain from voting, saying the City already has sufficient vehicles that Miptac can use for scheduled events.

Soon-Ruiz suggested that instead of purchasing a new vehicle for Miptac events, the City could schedule some of its vehicles from other departments for use. She emphasized that the City Government does not have extra funds.

She further recommended that the City allocate funds to purchase medicines, especially for senior citizens, buy school materials for public school students, and other essential items, rather than buying a new vehicle.

"Ang atong mga senior citizens ang ako mahuna-hunaan kani gyung mga tambal pero butang nato unsa pay mga needs mga skwelahan, siguro napay kinahanglag dugang gamit sa mga estudyante (Our senior citizens are the ones who I can think about who may need medicines but it's up to us what other needs the schools may need more equipment for the students). There are so many other things rather than a sakyanan nga naa man gyuy magamit para nako (...a car that can be used for me...) it's not a priority at the moment," said Soon-Ruiz.

Not mutually exclusive

In a text message sent to SunStar Cebu on Monday, March 11, Councilor Maline Cortes-Zafra, chairman of the Committee on Budget and Finance who proposed the draft ordinance, said there are funds that have been allocated to every aspect and project of the City.

Cortes-Zafra explained that allocating the budget for tourism by the City does not mean a decrease in the budget for other aspects such as health. She said these budgets are not mutually exclusive.

She also said that although other departments have vehicles, they are already scheduled for their respective activities and cannot be relied upon by Miptac.

Miptac has its mandates and it would be unfortunate if it depended on other departments for transportation, she added.

As also the chairperson for the Committee on Tourism, Cortes-Zafra emphasized that providing a vehicle for Miptac is a priority, particularly because tourism and investment promotion activities in Mandaue are in full swing after the Covid-19 pandemic.

"With the organization of our very own Mandaue City Cultural Dance Troupe, we need a vehicle to ferry our dedicated and passionate dancers comfortably to our official city activities, as well as in our participation in province-wide activities. People will probably also see the great improvement in our performances in the previous competitions and presentations, and the least we can do is to support and ensure their safe transportation," said Cortes-Zafra.

"Every aspect of the City has been allocated a budget. It doesn't mean that because a budget was given to tourism, the budget for health was taken away. It is not mutually exclusive," she added.

With 10 yes votes from the remaining councilors, including ex-officio members of the council from the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), the DO has been pushed through to its third and final reading on the next session on Monday, March 18, 2024. (HIC)


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