Bacolod slashes aid to year-end event of workers’ union

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BACOLOD City – The city government will give P2.6 million in financial assistance to the Bacolod City Government Employees Union (BCGEU) for the latter’s one-day Year-End Assessment Activity this year.

Last year city hall gave the BCGEU P8 million for the same activity – a controversial move that prompted some to question the allocation before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the President.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod approved on Dec. 3 Mayor Evelio Leonardia’s request for an authority to provide the assistance for this year.

Councilor Caesar Distrito, chairman of the city council committee on finance and appropriations, said the BCGEU aid this year was lower because of the difference in the duration of the Year-End Assessment.

Last year they had three days while this year the event will be just for day, said Distrito.

The 5,000-member BCGEU will use the amount for their food and prizes for the attendees, among other expenses in their annual year-end activity, the councilor said.

On Jan. 6 this year Task Force Kasanag national commander John Chiong wrote President Rodrigo Duterte requesting an investigation into the P8-million financial aid.

Chiong described it as a “wanton and scheming use of government power to divert government funds into an anomalous activity and transaction.”

Local Edgar Cadagat also complained before the Ombudsman Visayas on Jan. 8.

The complaint “has been referred for fact-finding investigation” and assigned to an investigating officer, Sarah Jo Vergara, officer-in-charge of the Ombudsman Visayas’ Central Records Management Office, wrote Cadagat on Jan. 26.

BCGEU president Allyn Luv Dignadice said they were willing and ready to answer queries from the Ombudsman.

Dignadice maintained that all their expenses were accounted for and had supporting receipts.

They already submitted to the Office of the City Mayor all the documents needed for liquidation, as required by the Commission on Audit, she added./PN

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