Northern Samar execs get new vehiclesBy Joey Gabieta
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Northern Samar may be among the poorest provinces in the country but it has acquired 15 new vans and pick-ups costing more than P16 million for its top officials.
These include nine units of Toyota Innova, which were bought at P888,200 each, three units of Toyota Hilux at P1.43 million each and three units of Toyota Hi-ace van at P1.29 million.
According to Arlene Cui, Northern Samar provincial information officer, these vehicles were bought from Toyota Inc. at Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City after it won the bidding conducted on May 31. The vehicles were delivered to Northern Samar on August 12, she added.
The three Toyota Hilux vehicles were detailed to Northern Samar Governor Paul Daza. One was for the governor’s use while the two others were for his bodyguards and staff members.
The three Hi-Ace units have been placed on stand-by status in case the province has guests.
One of the nine Innova vans will be detailed to Vice Governor Ramp Nielsen Uy. The rest will be distributed to the Provincial Board members.
Of the 13 board members in Northern Samar, only Board Member Marites Gillamac belongs to the opposition.
Contacted for comment, Daza said that that since he took over as governor in 2010, the province did not buy any vehicle even if it needed them.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that we don’t have much service vehicles here at the provincial government. I am using my own personal car; the same is true for about two or three provincial board members. But most of them are using motorcycles as their means of transportation,” Daza said.
He added the newly purchased vehicles were also intended for the board members and the province’s special guests.
Daza pointed out that when Israeli Ambassador Menasha Bar-on visited Catarman town early this month, the province had to borrow a private vehicle for the ambassador’s use.
Gillamac said she and Northern Samar Sangguniang Kabataan president Mikhael Johnson de Asas were not given service vehicles.
She pointed out, however, that she has been receiving a transportation allowance of P12,350 a month. Those who were given service vehicles receive a monthly fuel allowance.
She acknowledged that the vehicles were a necessity for board members.
“It’s important for our mobility. And in fairness to the governor, there are several board members who do not own a service vehicle which they could use in coming to Catarman for our sessions,” Gillamac said.
She cited the case of Board Member Eustaquio Lagramas who has been using his motorcycle as means of transportation to and from Catarman, which is more than two hours drive from his hometown of Palapag.
Daza said they first asked for permission from the Department of Interior and Local Government before making the procurement.
He also said the public may use the vehicles provided they make an official request. “It is not only for officials’ use but also for public use,” Daza said.