WITHHOLDING OF ALLOWANCES
Barangay officials whose allowances were withheld by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña should be afforded due process before city hall implements policies that would affect them, said some councilors allied with Barug Team Rama.
They lamented that under the present administration, barangays have been facing animosity from City Hall, as evidenced by the suspension or cancellation of the city’s allowance to barangay workers and the setting up of barangay mayor’s offices (BMOs).
Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover Jr. said some barangay tanods have not even received their P4,000 allowance from City Hall for the past eight months.
“There should be due process. These funds were approved by the Sanggunian and the mayor when we prepared the budget last year, when we knew the prevailing circumstances and who these people who will receive (the allowances) are,” added Councilor Jose Daluz III.
Mayor Osmeña earlier announced that all barangay tanods are required to submit weekly detailed accomplishment reports to the Cebu City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (Cosap) especially highlighting their campaign on illegal drugs.
Around 10 barangays reportedly submitted haphazardly-done reports, prompting the mayor to cancel their allowances earlier this week including other barangay workers like barangay health workers (BHWs) and the Lupong Tagapamayapa.
The mayor, however, backtracked his statement and said he will only cancel the allowances of barangay workers from Ermita, whose barangay captain is currently at odds with City Hall over the alleged “illegal” collection of “voluntary contributions” from vendors of the Carbon Public Market.
“Although he has the power to oversee things, it’s not a privilege of the mayor to just cancel their allowances. There should be notice and hearing, that is basic due process. Hear and consult. He didn’t do that,” Daluz said.
He added that new policies should also be referred to the Cebu City Council for their information.
Councilor Alcover also challenged the mayor to be the one to go to the barangays and consult them instead of them going all the way to the mayor’s office.
Meanwhile, the Association of Barangay Council (ABC) is set to dialogue with the mayor, Cosap and other city councilors regarding this concern.
The issue on the allowance of the barangay workers was brought up during a privilege speech by Councilor Alcover in the Council’s session last Tuesday.
Ex-officio Councilor Philip Zafra, president of the Association of Barangay Councils, said barangay workers rely so much on their allowance from City Hall especially that not all barangays, especially the smaller ones, can afford to give them a counterpart allowance of the same amount as city hall gives.
Sought for comment, Councilor Margarita Osmeña said she and other Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) councilors talked to the mayor about the concern after last Tuesday’s session.
This was the reason why the mayor reconsidered his decision to cut off the allowances of the 10 barangays.
Councilor Osmeña said the mayor will wait until their meeting with ABC and Cosap in order to discuss the concerns of the barangays.
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