Cabaero: What DILG says about Rama’s dream car

Beyond 30
Cabaero: What DILG says about Rama’s dream car

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have to weigh in on the move of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to purchase a luxury service vehicle that is bulletproof and bombproof.

Councilor Noel Wenceslao, who sponsored the City Council resolution approving the purchase, said there would be no procurement if not approved by the DILG. He defended, however, Rama’s plan saying the mayor currently uses his car or borrows someone’s Land Cruiser. Wenceslao also said the proposed service car is estimated to cost P10 million because of the bulletproof and bombproof features. Administrator Collin Rosell said there have been no death threats against the mayor but improving the mayor’s security does not only mean against death threats but also because of the dangerous terrain in the city. In addition, Wenceslao said the vehicle would not only be for Rama but also for those who will be mayor after him.

These were the reasons forwarded by city officials in media interviews about the planned purchase. I can guess how the DILG will decide on Rama’s request based on its guidelines, but I do not buy the reasons of the city’s terrain and that future mayors would benefit from the luxury vehicle.

The city’s terrain is how it has been unless the official is referring to the traffic and flashfloods that everyone must suffer. Future mayors will have no say on this vehicle and should not be considered.

This is what the DILG says about the purchase of service vehicles based on its revised policy guidelines in Memorandum Circular 2022 – 105 dated Aug. 23, 2022, on motor vehicle purchase by local government units (LGUs).

The guidelines state that all LGUs are “prohibited from acquiring” luxury vehicles (to include sports utility vehicle) for their operations. Local officials are also encouraged to dedicate a percentage of their vehicle requirements to those using alternative fuel types such as biofuels, flexi fuel etc. Prior approval will come from the Department of Budget and Management, Office of the President, or DILG based on specific motor vehicles.

Funds for motor vehicle purchases may be sourced from unencumbered local funds free of obligation or not yet obligated, funds under the General Appropriations Act such as the Local Government Support Fund-Other Financial Assistance to LGUs, and a portion of the 20 percent of the national tax allotment share for development projects.

There was no mention of exactly where the money will come from to purchase Rama’s vehicle except that media reports said it is in the budget for motor vehicles for this year under the mayor’s office. There was also an official who said they might tap donors or sponsors to help with the bulletproof and bombproof work to lower the cost.

As in any government spending that may be seen as unnecessary in this time of belt-tightening, city officials must answer questions on the propriety and priority of such a purchase.


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