Myra: Spending of donations by city gov’t: too little, too late PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 March 2016 11:25

“What? More than one half of the donations received by the city government intended to alleviate the plight of the families affected by the 2013 siege is still unspent and still in the bank?” Councillor Abubakar asked.

Abubakar  said the siege happened on September 2013 and it is now in March 2016, two and a half years after the siege occurred. “Do the donors know that their donations are unspent and still in the bank?”

Councilor Abubakar was reacting to an official press pelease of the City Government in March 19, entitled “Cash aid to city due to siege reaches P29.44M”.  The article reads as follows “monetary assistance extended to the City Government due to the 2013 Zamboanga Crisis has reached P29.44M as of March 16, 2016. Of the total amount, P14.387 million has been used for various services aimed to alleviate the plight of families affected by the siege, leaving a balance of P15.054 million.

The amount is under the custody of the City Government and is utilized and spent in accordance with government rules and regulations. It is under the care of the City Treasurer’s Office, City Budget Office and City Accountant’s Office”

“This slow implementation of assistance to the victims of the siege is a little too late.” Councilor Myra lamented.

The March 19, 2016 Press Release of the City Hall continued “The donations started to come in September 26, 2013 or a few days after the start of the siege with the last donation made on October 3, 2014...”

The press release continued as follows “ The expenses include cleaning and de-clogging, food supplies, water expenses, surveying expense, purchase of rescue vehicle, dislodging of septic tanks and construction of modified shelters at Lupa-lupa in Barangay Rio Hondo”.

Abubakar said this is contrary to a statement made by the City Mayor in an article published in the Daily Zamboanga Times issue of November 14, 2013 entitled “Beng Commiserates with Yolanda Victims”. In said article Mayor Climaco was quoted as saying: “In terms of donations or monetary assistance for the Zamboanga crisis, the city government has received has received through its trust fund, a total of Php 19.563-million as November 11, 2013. We want to make it clear also that these funds will be utilized for recovery and rehabilitation efforts and not for food or relief operations as what the donors wished and specified when they turned over the assistance to us”.

Councilor Abubakar pointed out glaring discrepancies in the two official releases coming from City Hall. The first discrepancy is that the March 19, 2016 statement by City Hall is that “monetary assistance extended to the City Government due to the 2013 Zamboanga Crisis has reached P29.44M as of March 16, 2016”... yet in the official statement of the City Hall in the November 14, 2013 article published in the Daily Zamboanga Times the Mayor is quoted as saying “ In terms of donations or monetary assistance for the Zamboanga crisis, the city government has received has received through its trust fund, a total  of Php 19.563-million as November 11, 2013”. There is a Php 10-million discrepancy.

Second is in the same November 14, 2013 article, the Mayor is quoted as saying: “We want to make it clear also that these funds will be utilized for recovery and rehabilitation efforts and not for food or relief operations as what the donors wished and specified when they turn over the assistance to us” yet in the March 19, 2016 official statement from City Hall it states “The expenses include cleaning and de-clogging, food supplies, water expenses, surveying expense, purchase of rescue vehicle, dislodging of septic tanks and construction of modified shelters at Lupa-lupa in Barangay Rio Hondo”.

Abubakar said with these two conflicting statements it appears that the City is violating the terms of donation by the donors specifically in the use of said funds for food supplies and water expenses in contrast to what the Mayor said on November 14, 2013 “that these funds will be utilized for recovery and rehabilitation efforts and not for food or relief operations as what the donors wished and specified when they turn over the assistance to us”

These is indeed a very disappointing situation and very disturbing issues. Councilor Abubakar asked: “Are these the so called worms coming out of the Masepla can of worms?” (PR)