Senior citizens’ cash aid

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita July 20,2015 - 10:56 AM

Logistical woes cited for irregular release

The Cebu City government can’t distribute the senior citizens’ cash assistance monthly because of logistical constraints.
This was the city representatives’ reply to a senior citizen’s request from the Office of the Ombudsman asking for an investigation on why the senior citizens’ cash assistance is not released monthly which was specified under the city’s annual budget this year.
“There’s a lot of reasons why we can’t release it monthly. One is we need a lot of resources during distribution because it’s being done by City Hall employees in the barangays,” said city accountant Mark Salomon, in answer to a complaint at the Ombudsman filed by senior citizen and lawyer Reymelio Delute.
“If the city can’t release it monthly, I requested that it should be done at least quarterly because a lot of senior citizens are waiting for it, even myself, because I’m a senior citizen,” said Delute in his letter to the Ombudsman.
Delute, Salomon and City Hall lawyer Carl Sasuman met with Ombudsman hearing officer Emily Rosal for a conference last Thursday afternoon.
“What’s happening now is that the distribution is done at the whim of Rama. There’s no clear schedule,” said Delute who is a supporter of Team Rama’s rival, Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).
Salomon said they will relay Delute’s request to Mayor Michael Rama since they’re not in a position to decide on it.
He said the hearing officer was convinced by the earlier answer also given by the city that the specific provision cited by Delute which states the assistance should be made on a monthly basis had been vetoed by the mayor.
The veto was even upheld by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) 7.
The city allocates around P720 million every year for the P12,000 financial assistance extended to around 60,000 senior citizens in the city.
“The Office of the Ombudsman was satisfied with our written reply that the provision in the ordinance which provides for a monthly release was vetoed by the mayor due to logistical difficulties for monthly release. This matter is now closed by the Ombudsman,” said lawyer Sasuman.

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