P1 million for Lolong? No problem, says TomasCebu Daily News
REP. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district said he would allocate P1 million from his pork barrel to make sure that giant crocodile Lolong stays in his cage in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur and not be transferred to Metro Manila.
Osmeña said he wanted Lolong to stay in Agusan since the crocodile was a source of local pride for people in the area.
“It’s my decision…I don’t like the national government, imperial Manila, to be dominating,” he said.
Lolong was declared by the Guinness World Record as the largest crocodile in captivity.
Environment Secretary Ramon plans to have the crocodile transferred to the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) compound in Quezon City.
Agusan del Sur Mayor Edwin Elorde opposed the plan.
Osmeña said in a press conference on Wednesday that he wanted the P1 million donation spent to improve Lolong’s cage in Bunawan.
“I don’t want people to think that (Lolong’s cage in Bunawan) is a lonely structure. I know this is not much help for Lolong, but I don’t like the idea of DENR to put him in a cage,” he said.
Osmeña said he also wants to call the attention of others who may want to help Lolong.
Asked if he can spend P1 million from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) outside of his district, Osmeña said “I can do that.”
Earlier, Osmeña also allocated P2 million from his 2011 PDAF to help the Bohol Island State University.
Osmeña said he doesn’t worry about funding because he knows how to source additional funds from the national government.
He said he managed to source close to P300 million for road improvement projects in the south district but is cancelling this due to what he perceived was interference from Mayor Michael Rama.
Osmeña said he will wait for Rama to step out of City Hall after next year before seeking funding for these projects.
Osmeña said no law prohibits a congressman from allocating his PDAF for an area outside his district.
He said he doesn’t know any Agusan del Sur official and only read about Lolong in news reports.
“But I wanted to help to stress a point. I believe in local autonomy. I can understand how they (Agusan officials) feel. That (Lolong) is theirs. That’s their pride. It is now in the Guinness World Record,” he said. Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac