Provincial Capitol’s timidity

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

THE administration of Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes in Talisay City is obviously in need of praise. I understand JVR has been fidgety lately because of the bad press he is receiving. Thus, he seems to be drifting away from legitimate journalists, like the Talisay beat reporters.

I myself have been critical of the JVR administration, specifically of its haste to return to the old public market in Tabunok the vendors who were earlier transferred by former mayor Soc Fernandez to Lagtang. The new Talisay admin should have rehabilitated the old market first.

It now looks like JVR has seen the light with his plan to order the return of the vendors to Lagtang to give way to the construction of a new four-storey public market in the old market site in Tabunok. As they say, better late--or better to do the correct thing later--than never.


However, the return of the vendors to Lagtang is an admission by the JVR administration that allowing them to go back to Tabunok before the old market could be rehabilitated was wrong. It takes courage to do that, so the mayor has to be praised.

Hopefully, the construction of a new public market in Tabunok will also address the drainage problem in Colis St.


I know Provincial Auditor Eva Cabrera from way back. She is strong-willed, so I am not surprised that she was among the Commission on Audit (COA) people who refused to honor the request of the Provincial Board (PB) for them to guide its members on what to do with Capitol’s payables.

The PB committee on budget and appropriations is reviewing payables to contractors and creditors amounting to over P600 million, P250 million of which are for projects that have already been completed. Those projects were contracted under the administration of former governor Gwendolyn Garcia, now a third district representative.

Cabrera, in a letter to Provincial Secretary Anecita Pasaylo, noted that acceding to the PB request for COA to give an opinion on how to settle the payables would be tantamount to pre-audit, which the audit body no longer does.

“Pre-audit activities are the responsibility of the agencies concerned as part of their accounting and fiscal control processes,” Cabrera said.

That’s actually another way of saying that Provincial Government officials must start owning up to the responsibility of their actions. The practice of dilly-dallying in decision-making should end. They should show maturity and willingness to face the consequences of their actions.

In the case of the payables, for example, if they think that the previous Garcia administration was ill-motivated in contracting the projects that the contractors implemented and for which they are now demanding payment, then they should not pay the contractors. Or if in their assessment some of the contracts are legitimate, then they should go ahead and start paying their obligations.

They have lawyers, accountants, etc. to consult in making their decision. Why let COA people make the decision for them?

What seems to be the case is that governance in the province is shifting like a pendulum from one extreme to the other. The previous administration may have been too aggressive in many instances. The current administration of Gov. Hilario Davide III, on the other, hand, seems to be too hesitant to the point of being timid in making decisions.

If they continue with this style of governance, they could end up waking up one day that their three-year term is over and they have not done anything much yet.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 05, 2014.


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