Free bread, water (bottled and MCWD) for SOCA crowd
OVER 10,000 pieces of bread and 10,000 bottles of mineral water were offered to those who attended Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s State of the City Address (SOCA) at the Plaza Independencia last Saturday.
Free tap water for drinking was also dispensed by the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) in two stations on site.
Juvelyn Go, a staffer in the mayor’s office, said the bread and water were all donated by the mayor’s supporters like former City Councilor Ernesto Elizondo, who pledged to donate 7,000 bottled mineral water for the event.
The mayor’s secretary Belinda Navasquez declined to comment on the donation.
Her role in soliciting donations of bottled water for the SOCA on behalf of Mayor Rama had opened questions of possible violation of the anti-graft law.
Councilor Sisinio Andales, who posted one solicitation letter on his Facebook page, said this violated the prohibition against public officials and employees soliciting donations, gifts or items of value from parties who transact witht the government.
But the City Hall Ombudsman cleared Navasquez and the mayor’s office employees from wrongdoing.
During the mayor’s speech at the Plaza Independencia, a large number of people also gathered at a gazebo in the area to collect free bread and water.
Go said over 10,000 pieces of bread from Cebu La Fortuna Bakery and bottled water of Nature’s Spring and Wet! were given away.
Two water stations were also set up on site by MCWD which made faucets available. People lined up to fill plastic cups with drinking water.
“Di namin sila [crowd] ma-satisfy. Pag bigay namin ng isa, pasok sa bulsa. Pero sige na lang, okay ra basta ibigay (We could not satisfy them. Once they were given one, they placed it in their pockets. But let it be, it’s okay just as long as it was given),” said Mina Aracan of the mayor’s office.
Aracan said they prioritized senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD) and other organizations.
She said any excess supplies will be stored along with the equipment used for the event at the mayor’s office.
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