North Samar execs get new vehiclesBy Joey Gabieta
TACLOBAN CITY—The government of Northern Samar, a province with nearly half of its population classified as poor, has purchased 15 new vans and pickups for its officials, two of the vehicles for use by the province’s governor and his aides.
The vehicles, which were bought for more than P16 million, include nine units of Toyota Innova (P888,200 each), three units of Hilux (P1.43 million each) and three units of HiAce (P1.29 million each).
According to Arlene Cui, Northern Samar provincial information officer, the vehicles were bought from Toyota Inc. in Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City after it won a bidding conducted on May 31.
The vehicles were delivered to Northern Samar on Aug. 12 except for one Hilux that met an accident on the way, she added.
Two of the vehicles were detailed to Northern Samar Gov. Paul Daza—a HiAce for the governor’s use and an Innova for the use of his bodyguards and staffers, said Cui.
Eight Innovas are for the use of seven board members and the Provincial General Services Unit, said Cui.
The board members with new Innovas are Jose Layon, Bela Bogtong, Alberto Mendador, Golda Ballesta, Dionisio Dexter Galit, Niel Hernandez and Reyzandro Unay.
Two units of Hilux are detailed to Vice Gov. Ramp Nielsen Uy and Board Member Ricardo Diaz while the two other units of HiAce are for the use of Board Member Eustaquio Lagramas and the Provincial General Services Office.
There are 13 board members in Northern Samar, a province with the second highest poverty rate in Eastern Visayas, according to data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). In 2009, results of NSCB’s city and municipal poverty surveys showed that at least 41.7 percent of Northern Samar’s population was classified as poor.
In some towns of Northern Samar, the poverty rate is at least 60 percent.
Reached for comment, Daza said the vehicles were necessary because the province has had no vehicle for its officials since 2010.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that we don’t have much service vehicles here at the provincial government,” said Daza. “I am using my own personal car,” said the governor.
He said most officials of the province use motorcycles for transport.
He said the need for vehicles is best illustrated by the visit of Israeli Ambassador Menasha Bar-on in Catarman early this month when the province had to borrow a private vehicle for the ambassador’s use.
Board Member Marites Gillamac, the lone opposition member of the provincial board, said officials who were given vehicles also receive a monthly fuel allowance.
She said, however, that she acknowledges the necessity of buying vehicles for officials of the province.
“It’s important for our mobility.
Daza said the provincial government had asked for permission from the Department of Interior and Local Government to buy the vehicles.