“Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.” James Lee Burke
By Alex P. Vidal
By signifying interest to pay a partial amount of P5 million to the Panay Electric Company (PECO) out of the total P80 million arrears, Iloilo City Hall has restored the faith of other private utilities with pending collectibles from the city government.
The partial amount appropriated for payment of electric bills consumed since the time of former mayors Mansueto Malabor and now Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Trenas may be peanuts, but P5 million is P5 million in whatever dialect.
The biggest power consumption was recorded by the city public markets with bills reaching P30 million, including the P26 million in unpaid bills that mounted last year.
Although there was no available date mentioned for the next payment, at least city hall can now be given assurance that PECO will not disrupt its power lines this Yuletide season.
So many programs and activities in public plazas and other venues (gymnasiums, auditoriums, etc.) maintained by the city government have been lined up this Christmas.
One sure way to sabotage these programs and activities is to cut off the power lines in these areas due to non-payment of the gargantuan PECO bills.
The P5 million check is expected to protect all the Christmas-related programs and activities.
The move to pay PECO with the initial amount emanated from the City Council committee on appropriations chaired by Councilor Eduardo Penaredondo.
The windfall could be timely since Iloilo City is also scheduled to host segments of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in 2015.
By the end of 2014, city hall’s power bills are expected to increase now that the city government has installed several street lights and lampposts in the Diversion Road where some of the recently inaugurated state-of-the-art infra and road-widening projects are located.
Both city hall and PECO are studying some mechanisms on how to further reduce the bills without the need to slice a big chunk of the city budget intended for the employees’ benefits and the people’s basic needs.
We are glad that Roxas City Hall has released the business permit of Kapis Mansions owned by businessman Joaquin “Toto” Diaz Dumagpi, a Capiz-based friend of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay Sr.
Mayor Alan Celino may have interfered and did not want anymore to further inflame the issue after the delay was linked to Dumagpi’s friendship with the vice president.
Dumagpi had fought tooth and nail since early this year to compel city hall to release his hotel’s business permit, insisting his papers were complete and properly documented.
In a press conference last month, Dumagpi scored the repeated refusal of the city licensing division to release the business permit, lamenting that the delay had cost Kapis Mansions millions of pesos of losses since the hotel was supposed to host the Department of Health (DOH) national convention.
Lawyer Leobeth Deslate-Delicana confirmed recently her client did not pay any penalty or surcharge to the city government.
There was no immediate explanation on the part of the city hall why it suddenly released Kapis Mansions’ business permit, which happened after the media extensively tackled the issue.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor is ready to lower the boom on Capitol checks scammers upon his return from a three-day trip in South Korea.
Fact finding committee chief, Atty. Suzette Mamon, has completed the investigation and Defensor was already informed about it.
The Iloilo provincial government had been defrauded with P170,345.21.
This was after Provincial Accounting Office found alterations in 17 disbursement vouchers and checks for the payment of medicines, drugs and medical apparatus.
The Provincial Treasurer’s Office issued P1,652,379.48 check to Diomar, more than the amount due which is only P1,482,034.27.
The transaction was made through Diomar Trading, a longtime supplier of the Capitol, it was learned.