Fire victims caught amid old political feud

·2 min read

TENSIONS arose between Mambaling Barangay Capt. Gines Abellana and a barangay councilor when Abellana tried to stop the distribution of cash-for-work aid to fire victims of Sitio Lawis on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.

Mambaling Councilor Anne Marie Palomo, who guided the staff of Cebu City south district Rep. Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) in a visit to the barangay, said the commotion erupted when Abellana suddenly arrived just as people were lining up to sign up for Dole’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad) program.

Under the Tupad program, those who qualify will be given minimum wage for a 10-day employment opportunity.

Palomo said Abellana ordered the activity stopped because it was not channeled through his office.

The Mambaling barangay captain reportedly also removed a tarpaulin set up by the Dole.

“It became rude. We argued and fought, but the Tupad activity continued because the people were getting angry and they were screaming for him to get out,” Palomo said in Cebuano.

Superbalita Cebu tried to contact Abellana for his comments, but he could not be reached as of this writing.

The Mambaling councilor claimed this was not the first time Abellana had stopped Dole’s distribution of the cash-for-work program to fire victims in their barangay, as Abellana allegedly also did the same after two previous fires.

Palomo, an ally of the Osmeña-run opposition party, BOPK, and Abellana of the Rama administration’s Partido Barug have been at odds for years.

Back in 2019, Palomo assumed the position of acting barangay captain when Abellana was suspended by the Cebu City Council for three to four months for abuse of authority for allegedly withholding the honoraria of four barangay councilors including Palomo.

Abellana refused to heed the suspension order.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government later ruled in his favor.

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