Tomas, Mike campaign for barangay support
Two camps, two venues. Same day, same audience.
The Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) and o fficials identified with Team Rama met with Cebu City barangay captains to discuss projects and politics yesterday morning.
Rep. Tomas Osmeña of the south district told 30 barangay captains who attended his luncheon at White Gold House that he would triple the barangay’s share of financial aid if he’s elected mayor in 2013.
At about the same time reelectionist Mayor Michael Rama distributed cash aid to 44 barangay captains from the city’s north and south districts at the Grand Convention Center in Archbishop Reyes Avenue.
“Those of you who will stick it out with us will be amply rewarded,” Osmeña told the 30 barangay captains.
The congressman said this after hearing reports that Mayor Rama allegedly threatened to cancel aid to barangays loyal to BO-PK.
“When I take over City Hall, I’ll make it three times to be released in three years. I will release 100 percent of your share every year. At least you have something to look forward to,” he said, drawing cheers from the captains.
In her message, Rep. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar of Cebu City’s north district asked barangay captains to prepare their proposals for the second release of the half-a-million-peso assistance from her pork barrel for 46 northern barangays.
Association of Barangay Council (ABC) presidents Michael Rallota said about 57 of the city’s 80 barangay captains confirmed their presence for the BO-PK gathering.
But only 12 from the south and 18 from the north came.
Carreta barangay captain Eduardo Lauron said he received a call from the mayor’s office last Friday night for yesterday’s agreement signing but he opted to attend the BO-PK meeting because he confirmed his attendance there first.
Busay barangay captain Eleodoro Sanchez of Team Rama said the mayor only forged an agreement with 20 barangays who complied with requirements for the release of their assistance.
Rallota said it came as a surprise to them why the mayor’s office also scheduled the signing for the release of aid to barangays on the same day of the BO-PK meeting.
“Some barangay captains called us and some even asked the permission of Tommy to attend the MOA signing so they will get their financial aid. But they will try to catch up with our own meeting,” said Rallota.
The BO-PK meeting ended at 2 p.m. Rallota said the larger presence of barangay captains in the meeting held by Rama doesn’t mean that all of them support the mayor over Osmeña.
“Other barangays who joined the signing told us ahead that they had to be there to already get their share of barangay aid,” Rallota said.
The city government allocated P400 million for barangay aid this year.
The same assessment was shared by Philip Zafra, the mayor’s chief of staff. “We can’t force them. What’s important is they joined with us for the purpose of public service,” Zafra said.
During the BO-PK meeting, Councilor Margot Osmeña said the council urged Rama to release the aid to all barangays regardless of political affiliation. She said the funds may be spent on social development projects.
The cash aid ranges from P3 million to P10 million depending on the barangay’s size and population.
Councilor Osmeña said the release of aid to barangays is supposed to help the barangays make their own purchases.
However, she said unless agreements are entered into by the different barangay captains with Rama, their share of assistance cannot be released to them. “The political fever has started,” she said.
For her part, Lahug barangay councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, a Rama ally, called on barangay captains present during the agreement signing to “take their chance” and join Team Rama.
“This is an opportunity for everyone, even for someone who has an ordinary surname that he or she can win in any post,” said de los Santos, who ran for both the mayoralty post in 2007 and Cebu City’s north district seat in 2010.
“If there is victory there is change, If there’s no victory, there’s no change,” she said. When asked who among them will support Team Rama, scores of barangay captains stood up and raised their hands.
In his speech, Rama said in jest that he doesn’t want any superficial show of support from people who promise to support him but are actually working against him.
He also referenced in passing a Cebu Daily News story published last Monday on his statement of assets and liabilities as one of many attempts to ruin his reputation.
“Hasta ang newspaper moapil og guba (Even a newspaper is joining in the campaign to ruin me),” he said in his speech, adding that he has had enough of the criticism leveled against him.
In the runup to the elections, Rama said he wants to make sure who are with him and who are against him.
Rama broke his decade-long ties with the BO-PK last year over disagreements on how to handle the relocation of settlers of the Mahiga Creek.
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