By Eldie S. Aguirre
Digos City Bureau Chief
DIGOS City — Mayor Joseph Peñas, known for his humility and composure in times of trouble appeared to have had enough of his political detractors calling him a ‘mendicant.’
Spokesmen from his nemesis, Governor Douglas Cagas, said over their radio program that Peñas has been practicing mendicancy after knowing that President Rodrigo Duterte, during his recent visit to Digos City, committed P200-million for the construction of a modern city hall and rehabilitation of its existing gymnasium.
They criticized Peñas for allegedly taking advantage of Duterte’s presence during the 17th founding anniversary of the city on Sept. 8 where the President was the guest of honor.
Peñas said those people are into irresponsible journalism by airing issues without conducting an in-depth investigation.
“Had they asked me about the commitment of the President before making their own conclusions they should have known that the request for funds to construct another city hall to replace the antiquated structure that we are still using until now, has been submitted to Duterte before he visited us on September,” Peñas said.
The mayor said he did not see anything wrong on the actions of the President in announcing his commitment during the city anniversary. “It could be considered as a gift which is only proper to do it since it was a memorable occasion for all Digoseños. Neither my fault to accept such an offer,” Peñas said.
“If that’s what they’re seeing, let it be. As long as I’m doing what is good for the people and I have the mandate to fulfill, no matter what they will call it,” he said.
The city planning and it’s engineering office have forwarded the architectural plans to the Office of the President a month after following the request of Duterte to do it as fast as they can so the project could commence immediately.
“I personally brought it to Malacañang and handed it to Secretary Bong Go as per instruction of the President. Now, we have a response requiring us to get a geo-hazard certification from concerned agencies to ensure the safety of the said structure. This only means it was not a joke, but the President is serious in helping our city to become progressive,” Peñas said.
The three to four-storey city hall building will be built at the same site where the old structure built in the 50’s is situated.