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Dissolve redundant committees

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita May 20,2016 - 10:35 PM

The Cebu City Bantay Dagat Commission is under the environment category which also has the Cebu Coastal Management Board. Ernesto Rama was chairman of the Bantay Dagat Commission in 2015. It is now headed by Edwardo Cabras. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

The Cebu City Bantay Dagat Commission is under the environment category which also has the Cebu Coastal Management Board. Ernesto Rama was chairman of the Bantay Dagat Commission in 2015. It is now headed by Edwardo Cabras. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

The Cebu City government will have to dissolve some councils and special committees created under the administration of suspended Mayor Michael Rama because it is costly to keep them all.

Lawyer Ralph Sevilla, a member of the transition team of incoming Mayor Tomas Osmeña, said members of special bodies collect honorarium from city hall. Some of them even have city government-issued vehicles.

“But all they do is a duplication of the function of existing departments,” he said.

Sevilla said there have even been instances when committee or council heads would “control” some city hall departments simply because they are appointees of the mayor.

The transition team of Osmeña, as well as that of City Hall, which is currently headed by Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña, have been meeting since last week to make for a smooth transition from the Rama administration to the incoming Osmeña administration.

LIST

A list obtained by Sevilla shows that city hall now has close to a hundred councils and committees headed mostly by allies of suspended Mayor Michael Rama.

In an interview, City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas explained that a member of a special body, council and board can receive an honorarium of at least P1,000 but not more than P4,000 per meeting.

“Based on my experience when preparing the payroll, there are usually at least 10 members in each body but not more than 20. They can meet once a week or what, but not more than four times in a month,” Cuevas told Cebu Daily News.

Based on the official list of special bodies and attached offices in city hall as of May 16, 2016, there are already 90 of these bodies.

But as of December, 2015, there were 100 such bodies. This separate list was provided by Rama’s secretary, Belinda Navascues.

A total of 23 special bodies and offices were created during the Rama administration, mostly pursuant to ordinances approved by the city council.

Nine of them were created through Executive Orders signed by Rama.

The committees that were no longer included in the updated list as of May 16, 2016 include the Cebu City Anti-discrimination Commission, Cebu City

Anti-Mendicancy Office, Cebu City Coordinating Board, Cebu City Gamefowl Commission, City Project Monitoring Office, Mobile Alarm System, Peace and Order Program, Sister City Commission, Cebu City Waterfront Development Council and the Cebu City Cooperative Development Office.
Using the figures given by Cuevas, at the very least, city hall spends around P1 million a month as honorarium for members of these bodies. That’s if they only hold one meeting a month at the lowest rate of P1,000.

According to Sevilla, who was the city legal officer and human resource management office head from 1998 to 2013, he too used to be part of eight special committees then.

They only collect P200 as honorarium per meeting.

CATEGORIES

Under the official list of special bodies obtained by Sevilla, the 90 bodies placed under nine different categories: environment, education, social services, governance, health, peace and order, culture and heritage, labor and employment and economics.

For example, under the environment category, there is a Cebu City Bantay Dagat Commission and another one is a Cebu Coastal Management Board.

In social services, there is a Cebu City Anti-Drug Abuse Council, and a Commission on Substance Abuse Program (COSAP). There is also the Cebu City Anti-Mendicancy Board, but at the same time, late last year, Rama signed an executive order creating SPREAD-For Better Life which was tasked to “reach out” or roundup street children, vagrants, and night dwellers.

There is also a Barangay Affairs Office and another Barangay Affairs Extension.

There’s a Land Management Council and a separate Land Management Office.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, committee, Margot Osmeña, Mike Rama, organizations, Task Force

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