After the P17M CoViD meals
The Dumaguete City Council had approved the request of the City Development Council for P16 million more for food for medical frontliners, strandees, and other personnel directly involved in the implementation of CoViD-19-related programs, projects, and activities from July to December 2020.
Th request from the CDC was in addition to the P17 million earlier contracted by the City to three suppliers also for food for LGU personnel and frontliners from April to May 2020.
The request from CDC, chaired by Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo, was contained in a letter to the City Council dated June 26.
The CDC was withdrawing an earlier request for P20 million for meals for the months of June, July and August 2020, and instead asked for P16 million to establish a community kitchen that would run for six months.
It was proposed that the community kitchen would produce the food for a budget of P75 per meal for 250 persons for a six-month period, totaling P10,350,000.
The CDC also appropriated P100,000 for LPG for cooking, dishwashing soap, and other expenses.
Another budget for the food of 362 barangay tanods was also requested, totaling P4,995,600; as well as “other operating expenses” worth P544,400, for a total of P16 million.
In a letter to the City Development Council, Mayor Remollo recommended that the amount of P16 million be sourced from unappropriated surplus of the General Fund Proper.
Meanwhile, the City Council continued its investigation into the reported irregularities in the documentation of the P10 million billing by Aladdin Restaurant for food served to frontliners and other volunteers for the months of April to May.
During the Wednesday session, Assistant City Administrator Dinno Depositario denied the statement of Faronito Ablong, inspector of the City Internal Audit Office, that he (Ablong)ordered by Depositario to sign the inspection report even though he did not actually inspect and see the meals received by the City.
“I am not in any position to ask Internal Audit to sign. I deny that, sir,” Depositario said.
The owner of the other catering service, lawyer Raymund Mercado of Boy Kanin, also denied serving spoiled food, as alleged by representatives of the City Social Welfare & Development Office during a meeting of the Committee on Rules, Ordinances & Legal Matters and Good Governance, chaired by Councilor Karissa Tolentino-Maxino.
Mercado also denied having used the influence of his law partner, Councilor Michael Bandal, in winning the contract with the City.
Patrick George, owner of Aladdin Restaurant, through his lawyer Nerio Bulado, said he was willing to answer all the questions of the City Councilors, but only in an executive session.
The executive session has been scheduled for Tuesday.
Vice Mayor Alan Gel Cordova assured that the minutes of the executive session will still be part of the official records of the Sanggunian so it will not be a “he said-she said” session. He said as a public document, the minutes of the executive session will be accessible to the media.
Vice Mayor Cordova said they will hold a press briefing after the executive session.
This same issue will be discussed during the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlunsod on Wednesday.