ACTING Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale said the provincial government has an obligation to extend help to any town or city within its jurisdiction.
“The province has an obligation to help the LGUs who form Cebu. We assure that we will give you a little something,” she said.
While declining to cite names, the acting governor said some mayors claimed that Garcia snubbed their requests for fund assistance because they were not affiliated with her One Cebu party.
“Some mayors approached me and asked me if they are still entitled to financial assistance from the province. I told them that we still have to strengthen the finances of the province but we will consider their request,” Magpale said.
Provincial Board members used to have access to a “pork barrel” fund for projects to sponsor in localities in their district.
In the Legislative Assistance Fund (LAF), the vice governor has an allocation of P15 million while every PPB member has P11.5 million.
Garcia removed the LAF from the legislative department’s budget beginning 2011 and transferred funding to the Governor’s Office – a move that sparked a row between her and then vice governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr. that escalated into a full-blown administrative case that led to the six-month suspension of Garcia as a penalty.
Acting governor Magpale said she won’t be vindictive and shut out non-allies even if she belongs to the Barug Alang sa Kaugmaon ug Demokrasya (Bakud), a local party that struck an alliance with the Liberal Party last July.
Magpale also vowed to settle over P200 million in obligations of the Capitol, as more bills are presented by suppliers, but said it will be done on a staggered basis.
Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre said only P90 million was available in the General Funds in the end of December and was not enough to pay all money claims which reached P200 million.
The situation is expected to ease up in January when the Internal Revenue Allotment or monthly share from national taxes is released to Cebu province.
Magpale said she wants a financial report on the operations of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) in Mandaue City.
“We have to determine ‘are we making money there?’ That’s one of our concerns,” Magpale said. She said she will meet with the CICC management, the treasurer and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes next month.
The CICC was one of the key venues for the Association of Southeast Asian summit in January 2007. Its construction was completed in a record time of eight months. The project is being investigated by the Ombudsman.
Garcia and six Capitol officials are being investigated for allegedly giving undue advantage to a private contractor who did extra work to complete the CICC.
Others facing investigation are the Bids and Awards Committee chairman Eduardo Habin, Provincial Attorney Marino Martinquilla, Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre, Budget Officer Emmy Gingoyon, BAC members Ernesto Biernes, Engr. Euly Pelayre. The extra work for the CICC was reportedly awarded to WT Construction Inc. without any contract.