291 sacks of rice intended for habal-habal drivers about to rot – Labella

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio August 20,2019 - 06:36 PM

Habal-habal and Angkas drivers trooped to the Plaza Independencia in this December 2018 photo to collect their share of rice subsidy from the Cebu City government. | CDN File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — At least 291 sacks of rice that were purchased last December have remained untouched at the Cebu City warehouse located at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Mayor Edgardo Labella said that the sacks of rice that were part of the Osmeña administration’s purchase for habal-habal drivers could already start to rot in the next few days.

To avoid wastage, Labella wanted to donate these to Cebu City policemen and the families affected by fires that hit the city in the last two months.

Read More: 1, 400 habal-habal drivers claim rice subsidy from City Hall

Labella said he already asked the City Council last week to facilitate the passage of a resolution that would allow the realignment of the rice purchase intended for habal-habal drivers to the police and fire victims.

But Minority Floor Leader Nestor Archival said that the mayor’s request cannot be done.

Archival said that Labella’s request, if pursued, may lead to technical malversation.

Read More: Habal-habal drivers to get rice subsidy

Councilor Leah Japson expressed approval of Archival’s opinion and proposed that the council seek the opinion of the City Legal Office before they should act on the mayor’s request.

Labella, a former official of the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas, disagreed with Archival.  He said that the planned realignment cannot be considered as technical malversation because there is “an impending need to (already) distribute the rice.”

“Ang uban nangalata na gani, nausik na. Kinahanglan na gyod ipanghatag,” he said in an interview this morning, August 20.

(Some of the rice have even started to rot, become wasted. We already need to distribute the remaining supply),” said Labella.

But Labella said that he was willing to wait for the opinion that Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) Councilors wanted to seek from the City Legal Office.

The 291 sacks of rice is part of the 6,000 sacks of rice which former mayor Tomas Osmeña ordered purchased in December 2018 for release as rice subsidy to habal-habal drivers who were then ordered by the Supreme Court to already cease their operation. | dcb

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TAGS: 291 sacks of rice, Cebu City, Edgar Labella, habal-habal drivers, realign, rice subsidy, rot, technical malversation

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