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LP 73 - Lakad

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kontrobersyal na Lakad sa aking pagbabalik


Bago pa lamang dumating ang araw ng Huwebes ay may nakahanda na ako sa aking lahok sa aking pagbabalik sa halos ilang buwan ako'y lumiban. Ngunit tamang tama ang pagdating ng isang kontrobersiyang bumalot sa araw na ito. Ito ay ang tungkol sa pagkakasilip sa sa LAKAD ng mga Punong Barangay ng Maynila. Tunghayan po ninyo ang balita ngayong araw ng Huwebes, araw din ng LP.

700 village execs’ China trip draws flak
By Tina Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:31:00 09/03/2009

MANILA, Philippines -- Some 700 village chairmen in Manila recently went on an “educational trip” to China using barangay funds.
There are a total of 897 villages in the city.
According to Joel Par, director of Liga ng mga Barangay and chairman of Barangay 859 Zone 93 in Pandacan, the barangay officials went in batches to Shenzhen, China, last month.
“We had an invitation from the Chinese government, so we grabbed the opportunity to see for ourselves how different is Manila -- considered a premier city -- from the dynamic economies of other cities in Asia,” explained Par.
He admitted that they made a side trip to Hong Kong and Disneyland “for socialization and bonding,” saying some barangay chairs went either with their spouses or families.
Those who failed to join the trip were either sick or did not have passports, Par said.
Asked if the Chinese government shouldered any of their expenses during their three day-two night stay in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Par said no.
He added, “I think they just sponsored a lunch or dinner for us.”

For a change

Par admitted that the money used for the trip came from the yearly contributions to the Liga ng mga Barangay (League of Villages).
“Each barangay allots a budget for its Human Resources Development Plan from which P55,000 is allotted for trainings and seminars. The P55,000 is like the barangay’s membership fee in the Liga,” he said. “We have out-of-town seminars and educational trips yearly, but this was the first time we went abroad. [We went there] also for a change.”
Before the China trip, all 897 barangay chairmen, along with their seven councilmen, secretary and treasurer, also attended a three day-two night seminar in a hotel in Baguio sometime in May or June.
Par said the money for the Baguio seminar also came from contributions to the Liga.
He refused to divulge the exact amount spent for the activity but claimed that the total P49,335,000 barangay budget (P55,000 from each barangay) covered both their Baguio and China trips.

‘Excessive spending’

Lawyer Vladimir Cabigao, meanwhile, criticized the barangay officials’ “excessive spending,” saying it was a clear misuse of public funds.
He also asked the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a probe of the matter.
“As concerned taxpayers, we would like to ask your office to exercise your visitorial authority over the books of the Liga ng mga Barangay in the City of Manila because we are worried that the said foreign trip may have been made possible by the use of public funds,” Cabigao said in his letter to COA yesterday. “… If public funds were used to support the said foreign travel, then it was an irregular, excessive, unnecessary and extravagant use of public funds.”
But Par justified the trips, saying it has been a common practice among barangay officials to hold out-of-town seminars and training, even under the previous administration.

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