Osmena questions Labella’s P49-M budget for residents affected by Covid-19 crisis

FORMER Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmena questioned the P49 million budget of the Cebu City Government for the procurement of 60,000 food packs that will be distributed to residents affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.

“P824 per pack meal? That’s too much. They better explain this,” said Osmena.

The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), in a resolution, recommended to Mayor Edgardo Labella to purchase 60,000 pieces of packed meals.

A packed meal contains rice, vegetable, main dish (either beef, fish or pork), and desert and a bottled water, and other items in the amount of P49,490,000.

“We better see that amount in the packed meals that they will actually deliver to the people. Otherwise, that’s a wastage of public funds,” said Osmena.

City Administrator Floro Casas Jr. responded to Osmena, explaining that the P49 million budget is not only intended for the purchase of food packs. Other items will be bought by the City, Casas said.

The purchase request that Casas posted on his Facebook account on Thursday, April 16, 2020, states the budget for the purchase of food packs is only P6 million.

Each of the 60,000 food packs is worth P100.

Other items indicated in the purchase request are for the procurement of 25,000 sacks of rice. It has budget of P35 million and it will be distributed in 25-kilo packs.

The City also set aside P7.5 million for 3,000 sacks of rice that will be distributed in 50-kilo packs, and P990,000 for canned goods.

Casas said on his Facebook post that Labella’s administration “is not corrupt.”

Labella has approved the purchase, and the City already procured some of the items.

The City decided to make an emergency purchase of food packs, rice and canned goods.

“An emergency purchase (aims) to alleviate the living condition of the affected families of Cebu City such as disruption of lifelines such as food supply chain while under state of calamity due to Covid-19,” read a portion of the BAC resolution.

The request for the emergency purchases was made by the Department of Social Welfare Services. (JJL)

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