BOPK ally cries ‘foul’ over release of cash aid to barangays

AROUND 40 barangay captains in Cebu City have not received their P5 million financial assistance from the City Government. Majority of them are reportedly allied with the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), former mayor Tomas Osmeña’s political party.

Inayawan Barangay Captain Kirk Bryan Repollo, a BOPK ally, said the administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella of Barug-PDP-Laban keeps on changing the requirements barangays need to comply to get the cash aid.

Repollo said they already submitted the requirements after Labella assumed power in July 2019, but then they were required to submit a liquidation of the previous financial assistance. He said first-termer barangay captains could not do so since their predecessors did not do one, he said.

Jerone Castillo, officer-in-charge of the City Treasurer’s Office, said this requirement must be met before the financial assistance could be released.

SunStar Cebu asked Castillo how many barangays have received the cash aid, but he said he still has to check.

As a measure, Repollo filed a case before the Office of the Ombudsman against his predecessor for failing to liquidate P16 million in financial assistance.

Repollo said he submitted the barangay’s requirements last Nov. 28 and these were “received” by the City Accounting Office. But when he checked on Friday, Dec. 27, he said the City Accounting Office showed no record of his submission.

“What surprised me most was when I went to the accounting office last Friday, the undertaking I submitted last Nov. 28 was not recorded, resulting in Barangay Inayawan not being included in the processing,” he said.

Repollo said the P5 million financial assistance was allocated to the barangays during Osmeña’s time.

The City allocated at least P400 million in the Annual Budget for 2019 for the financial assistance to the barangays.

Repollo said he intended to use the cash aid to purchase a garbage truck and security cameras for the barangay.

According to the Facebook post of Inayawan Barangay Administrator Vince Monterde, Labella assured his constituents that his administration is inclusive, saying the people around him were the ones politicking.

When Labella assumed office in July, he said all 80 barangay captains would receive the cash aid no matter their political affiliation.

City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, chairman of the budget and finance committee, said there might be problems with the documentation and liquidation, which would explain why some barangay captains had yet to receive their P5 million financial assistance.

“It’s not a matter of which political party they belong to. It’s a matter of documentation,” he said.

He said a similar thing happened during Osmeña’s time when some barangay captains got delayed in fulfilling the requirements, such as the liquidation of the past financial assistance, which is mandated by the Commission on Audit.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Michael Rama said the City Council did not delay any resolutions to provide the cash assistance to the barangays, ally or not.

“No distinction. All will be given,” Rama said.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach Association of Barangay Councils President Franklin Ong for his comment, to no avail.

Ong had said barangay captains needed to submit a request, or “wish list,” on how they would spend the financial aid.

They could also choose to let the City implement the project instead of having the money released to them, Ong had said. (JJL)