City Hall to tap Labella as emissary to Visayas Ombud
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama will send his vice mayor as an emissary to the Visayas Ombudsman to straighten out issues on the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” fund-raising campaign that the city government has mounted for the construction of a new building for the Cebu City Medical Center.
The fund drive was launched immediately after the CCMC building was declared unfit for occupancy after it sustained deep cracks following the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that shook Central Visayas in October 15.
The fund-raiser has so far raised P7.7 million.
Rama said he plans to send Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, a former Ombudsman official, to talk to Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol to clarify his statements against the city’s fund-raising campaign.
Pending any talks, the fund raising campaign will have to continue, the mayor said.
“What is important is that our intention is pure,” Rama said.
The Visayas Ombudsman earlier flagged City Hall on its fund raising activity, saying the city government should get a permit from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as mandated by Commonwealth Act 4075, a 1933 law that was amended via a Presidential Decree by President Marcos in 1978.
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) committed P500 million for the city hospital.
But Rama said DOH’s commitment “is still on paper.”
He said he still has to speak to DOH officials on the requirements and the process for the fund transfer.
Apostol said not even local government units (LGUs) are exempted from securing a permit from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct its solicitation campaign.
“No one is exempted from securing a permit to conduct solicitation drives. The guidelines are clear. Nobody is exempted. LGUs are mandated to regulate solicitation drives. If Cebu City is exempted, that’s unfair,” Apostol said.
Cebu City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo said Presidential Decree 1564 or the Solicitation Permit Law only regulates fund drives by the private sector, semi-government entities, association and organizations.
But Apostol said the administrative order from the DSWD which came up with the revised rules and regulations on public solicitations states that the guidelines cover “person, corporation, organization, association or any juridical entity.”
He said the order covers the national government agencies, the government-owned-and-controlled corporations (GOCCs), non-government organizations (NGOs), state colleges/universities, civic and professional organizations.
Like the Ombudsman, Apostol said the Cebu City government is part of government agency prohibited from conducting public solicitations without first securing a permit from the DSWD.
Apostol said he hasn’t talked with a Cebu City official yet.
“They’re only told to follow the rules. If only they will comply with it, then we will have no problem. There would no longer be any issue,” he said. Apostol said even the Ombudsman Visayas had to secure a permit from Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman when they held a solicitation drive for an anti-corruption program in 2010.
“We have not received any complaints with regard to public solicitations as of now. But let me remind concerned individuals about it,” he said.
The Amended Solicitation Permit Law was issued by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1978 to regulate the “solicitation of donations and voluntary contributions in order to obviate illegal fund drives.”