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City Hall fund-raising drive must have a DSWD permit

/ 11:27 AM November 26, 2013

Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol suggested that Cebu City Hall temporarily stop its “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” campaign to raise funds for the construction of a new building for the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

In an interview, Apostol said while the Cebu City government’s intention “is noble,” they should have mechanisms to ensure that all donations are accounted for.

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“They should make sure not to frustrate the donors. The absence of proper procedures in accepting donations may entice some people to take advantage of the situation so as to pocket money,” he told reporters yesterday.

He said the city government should first secure a permit from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to hold the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” campaign so they will be guided on how to implement it.

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Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos, head of the city’s CCMC reconstruction project, said she will secure a DSWD permit if necessary.

No stopping

However, she said City Hall would not stop the city’s “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” campaign.

Delos Santos said they are baffled as to why Apostol suddenly questioned the fund raising campaign which started after the Oct. 15 earthquake.

The 7.2-magnitude temblor damaged the CCMC and forced its occupants to vacate the building after it was declared unsafe.

“Is there a complaint?” she asked.

Asked that same query earlier, Apostol told reporters there was none.

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Neither did he comment on other fundraising campaigns for calamity victims of the earthquake and supertyphoon Yolanda such as the #BangonSugBohol concert series and various private sector donation drives.

The city government has raised close to P8 million from private donors so far in the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” campaign led by Cebu City Mayor Michale Rama.

Apostol said private firms organizing a campaign to solicit money must first secure a permit from the local government unit (LGU).

In this case, however, since the city government initiated the campaign. the city should deal with the DSWD.

Solicitation

“As a general rule, solicitation for personal use is prohibited. But if it is intended for public purpose, it is all right as long as there is a permit. Solicitation is a regulated act under the law,” Apostol said.

He said the Ombudsman is simply performing its job as the official critic of the government and to make sure that every single centavo that goes to the government will be spent for the people.

“The Cebu City government has to be careful especially since there may be fly-by-night individuals who will take advantage of the situation,” Apostol said.

Mayor Rama launched the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” campaign last Oct. 21 to raise P1.5 billion to fund the construction of a new hospital building to replace the quake-damaged 45-year-old CCMC.

The city government also opened a trust fund account with Banco de Oro where donors may deposit their share.

First time

The CCMC was deemed “unfit for occupancy” by the Office of the Building Official and private structural engineers after it sustained structural damage due to the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol last Oct. 15.

Santos said she will discuss with stakeholders about Apostol’s comments on the fund-raising campaign. “This is the first time I have heard of this. I just want to ask how come the Ombudsman has an interest in this?,” delos Santos said when sought for comment.

Jose Daluz III, Mayor Michael Rama’s executive assistant, said the city can comply with the requirements which Apostol has set.

He said he will advise delos Santos to work on the DSWD permit and possibly suspend the fund raising drive in the absence of the said permit.

Mayor Rama was in Macau yesterday to watch the bout of People’s Champ and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and may be back in Cebu today.

City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete wanted to know if Apostol issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) to compel the city to suspend its fund raising drive.

Poblete said he wanted to discuss Apostol’s comments with Cebu City Hall lawyers so they can be guided appropriately. /Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Reporter with Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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TAGS: “Piso Mo Hospital Ko” campaign, Cebu City Hall, Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), DSWD permit, News
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