Proposed mobile clinic for Zambo ‘overpriced’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 14:28

Fireworks exploded during the regular session of the City Council yesterday morning when councilors engaged in heated arguments over the proposed purchase of   a mobile clinic described by some members as overpriced.

The majority bloc in the council rejected a motion of Councilor Cesar “Jawo” Jimenez Jr. to submit to the body for approval, the committee’s and chairman’s report on the conduct of the Joint Committee Hearing of the Committee on Disaster, Social Welfare and Health with regard to the pending proposal on the motion to accept the written and verbal recommendations on the purchase of the controversial Mobile Medical Rescue Vehicle priced at P37, 890,000.

Sections 11 and 12 of the council’s house rules state that the body will have to accept the committee status report or the chairman’s report which was adopted during the formal meeting of members and there should be a votation to determine who are in favor or against as it was defined.

After the series of heated arguments among members, the majority decided to “kill” the motion presented by Jimenez and refer it back to the combined Committees on Disaster, Social Welfare and Health before it goes back to the august body for acceptance and approval in a lawful and orderly manner.

The heated discussions erupted when members Charlie Mariano, Mel Sadain, Percival Ramos and VP Elago questioned the alleged overpricing of the LABOIT 4x4 Medical Rescue Vehicle.

The four councilors were surprised upon learning the exact amount of the said medical facility from the supplier itself having a very huge margin from its actual price quotation, a matter which was denied by the proponent.

The proponent, Councilor Jimenez, told his colleagues the importance of such medical equipment due to necessity and the relevance to the call of time in responding to all types of disasters.

Jimenez said the medical vehicle cannot be compared in price to the P17 million similar mobile vehicle of Davao City because the latter is a converted vehicle  and the one to be purchased by Zamboanga City is a brand imported new one.

“We are giving this opportunity to be at par with Davao city. Now is our opportunity, Zamboanga will be the first one to have a state-of-the-art mobile rescue medical clinic in the entire country,” Jimenez said.

Councilor Percival Ramos revealed that based on the documents they have received from the manufacturer LABOIT SPECIALTY VEHICLES based in Gahanna, Ohio, USA and from the company’s online profile, LA BOIT quoted the maximum price of $350,000 or P16,352,534.64 or a difference of around P21,537,465.36 compared to the bid price of P37,890,000.

Ramos said the representative from LABOIT Mobile Medical Sales Consultant Mr. Jeff Blais sent him an email on the exact amount of the said medical unit they are producing and the one being purchased by the city from their company.

“This is really overpriced, the amount of the equipment allocated by the CDRRMO is far away from the actual price quoted by the manufacturer itself. This is the very reason why we are questioning this purchase earlier to give justice to the people’s money being spent on this medical unit,” Ramos said.

Ramos also cited that the allocated budget of 38 million from the annual executive budget as they have not appropriated specifically in last year’s budget for the purchase for this equipment alone on September 28, 2015 is the general appropriations in the amount of P134,706,000 under the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO)  saying that the appropriated amount is a lump sum appropriation.

Councilor Sadain also agreed with Ramos’ basis saying that the allocated amount for CDRRMO budget appropriation has no specifics about the said medical equipment, and said that the city council has nothing to do with the fragmentalized budget allocation of the said office.

“Bien claro el anomaliya aqui, it is very overpriced, the said equipment only cost P16 million, but the CDRRMO has quoted P38 million  on the matter, cosa este garapalan ya,” Sadain said.

Councilor Mariano also engaged in arguments with Jimenez and the presiding officer Vice-Mayor Cesar Itturalde with regard to  the pending motion to accept the committee report of member Jimenez saying that the house rules should prevail over anything else.

Mariano said the clear overpricing of the said vehicle is a “slap on their faces” if approved, and this is the very reason why they, as responsible councilors will have to study the matter carefully in order for them not to be accountable to the people.

“Maquin unavez na mi vida como consejal del pueblo, nuay yo ruba sen del govierno, y no quierre yo queda yo responsable coneste aura como cosa losdemas  ta planya hace. Bien makahuya con el mga vivientes,” Mariano said.

Councilor VP Elago revealed that Jimenez should cannot wash his hands on this issue because he was the one who is very eager to pass the resolution to accept the joint committee report which is essential for the approval of the request of Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar requesting the August body for approval of the request for duty and tax exemption, to open the corresponding letter of credit for the account of the supplier, to sign the deed of undertaking and to receive for and in behalf of the city the said equipment for the official use of the city government of Zamboanga in its Disaster and Rescue Program as well as to executive all required documents in compliance with existing laws and issuances of concerned agencies of the government.

“We gave member Jimenez the job as the Committee chairman on Disaster, but that is the job of three committees not only by him. His report is half baked and it has no place in the council,” Elago said.

Elago added that Jimenez can’t also blame the Committee on Tourism which he spearheads as well as the Committee on Social Welfare of Councilor Myra Paz Valderosa-Abubakar because prior to the conduct of the joint committee hearing, they have manifested that they are not available on the given date and would prefer in their convenient schedule, but Jimenez ignored and conducted the joint hearing himself then come up with his chairman’s report yesterday.

“We told him that we can’t attend but he insisted, how come he is rushing up, why do you have to rush up, why can’t he wait for us, what is in it for him? We have the right to study everything as members of the council because we are accountable to the people, “ Elago said.

After long hours of deliberation, the August body decided to refer the said matter back to the proposed Joint Committee for completion on its deliberations and come up with an official joint committee report agreed by the majority of all its committee members in totality before it will be referred back to the plenary for final deliberation and approval. – Dexter Yap