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What’s the money for?

Ben Contreras

COUNCILOR Roger Abaday begged off at the last minute for a more important appointment. Thus, there was nobody from the side of Mayor Oscar Moreno to comment on what Councilor Prexy Elipe raised during a recent program of Ronnie Waniwan at Mellow Touch.

It was meant to be a no-holds barred program on issues, past and present. Ralph Abragan, however, found it the most opportune time to comment and refute the attacks against him in the past from this very same program like his being a member of the City Mining Regulatory Board in the past, the “conflict of interest” issue, why and how he was removed and all that.

The presence of colleague Ben Balce was also appropriate since he also wrote some stories about the illegal activities in the hinterlands, and almost got sued by an angry individual.

It was I who insisted that a member coming from the Moreno’s side should be invited. Councilor Eric Salcedo would have been good since the issue on garbage would be taken up. But it was Abaday who agreed to be with us. Just the same, he failed to be with us. Thus, it made Elipe the more eloquent speaker with no one to refute him. Elipe arrived fully prepared. He brought with him documents to be discussed.

The issues are on transparency, calamity, farm-to-market roads, schools, budget, the Ajinomoto issue, OSM’s cases, landfill, garbage rehabilitation and garbage collection.

Garbage topped the issues taken up, and that included the landfill and garbage rehabilitation program. Elipe accused the Moreno administration of using the garbage issue to portray the majority as villains. But we all agreed with Elipe that presenting a budget request should not be made in lump sum but in details. Common sense dictates that when your child asks for money that is unusually bigger, we, parents, always ask, “What for?” Besides, it’s public money, not personal. Every centavo should be accounted for.

I look forward to our next meeting which should touch on transparency. Transparency is something so lacking not only during the past administration but also today. I hope someone from the stable of Moreno would be present. While the program was ongoing, I received a few text messages but was not able to raise it. Maybe, next time! I would like to accommodate them in this column.
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I was told: “Nag-issue man permit Edwin Dael sa operation sa barge nga ga-dredging sand and gravel sa ilalom sa tulay sa Marcos Bridge.”

I think the point here is, is it wrong to extract sand and gravel under the bridge or a certain distance from the bridge? Clenro, MGB or EMB should give an official opinion on this to close the issue.
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Another said, “Puede i-apil ug discuss kadtong RTA na awardee bisan one year pa ug la pa nagtuig awardee na sila.” I am sorry to say that I don’t know anything about this. If all the awardees are the newly hired as you indicated, then what about those who have been in the service for years? Don’t they have achievements, too?

But I leave that to Hapsay chairman Atty. Egay Uy. It is his prerogative as he may have also followed certain criteria in the giving of awards.

I don’t want to meddle in their affairs unless necessary. But I can say with certainty that there are also old hands there who are very deserving. If they didn’t get any, then that’s something.

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About Ben Contreras

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Ben Contreras has been writing a column for The Gold Star Daily since the 90s.

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