Editorial

State of mendicancy

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Provincial Board (PB) Member Ribomafil Holganza was merely stating the obvious when he said that he hopes the next Cebu governor will continue allocating cash assistance to the province’s towns and barangays.

The cash assistance referred to as doleouts could range from hundreds of thousands of pesos to millions of pesos depending on the sitting governor’s preference.

In the case of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, this would refer to the towns where her party One Cebu has allies in. This precludes of course the districts and towns ruled by her father Deputy House Speaker Pablo Garcia and her brother Rep. Pablo John Garcia, who also contribute their own pork barrel to further build their bailiwicks.

In fact the Provincial Treasurer’s Office pointed to Cebu Daily News an item in the 2011 budget called “subsidy to local government units” amounting to P302 million.

While nothing to sneeze at, the amount is quite small if one were to count the hundreds, nay thousands of barangays in Cebu. Part of that sum is also allocated to towns participating in the Capitol’s programs like “Pasigarbo sa Sugbo.”

The current Capitol administration recently passed an ordinance renaming the “E-Gwen”program into “Our Sustainable Cebu” which would grade towns through a scorecard that has standards based on international requirements like the United Nations.

A committee comprised of the governor, vice governor and stakeholders will evaluate whether these towns and barangays would qualify for financial rewards based on whether their policies and practices create a sustainable environment for collective and personal development.

This, along with sustained financial allocation to barangays and towns that need it the most, should be continued by the next administration but as in “Our Sustainable Cebu”, the cash allocation shouldn’t be based on political favors.

Local officials mistake either intentionally or not alliance-building to mean political networking. Sure, building ties with stakeholders is essential for any program to succeed but even parties that dub themselves progressive do so to advance their own agenda.

For the “Our Sustainable Cebu” program to work, more stakeholder involvement is essential. The Capitol should really reach out to the barangay level and to groups that have an established track record for grassroots development.

In that respect, financial assistance won’t have to be equated with doleouts because believe it or not, people do have a sense of dignity and hate being reduced to a state of mendicancy.

These towns and barangays aren’t beggars nor are they political capital. Rather they are people who need all the help they can get to better themselves and their situation.

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