WHERE is the P3.5 million released since April this year intended to fund the cleaning of drainage canals, esteros and other possible breeding place of mosquitoes in Dagupan? Who has the money?
These questions were raised by Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez on Monday after Liga ng mga Barangay chairman Guillermo Vallejos claimed the amount intended for the program has not been released by the city treasury office.
City Treasurer Romelita Alcantara, however, belied the Vallejos’ claim and said that the fund, at P100,000 per barangay, had been released to the respective barangay chairmen.
Alcantara clammed up and refused to elaborate when asked further on the details of the release.
The status of the esteros clean-up program was questioned after Councilor Alvin Coquia called for a new clean-up drive in the face of the dengue problem in the city that registered the biggest number of registered cases all over Pangasinan.
Fernandez pointed out that the fund was part of the P7 million approved by the SP before the Bangus Festival in April, which was partly intended for use by the barangays’ participation in the ”Gilon-gilon” Ed Dalan street dancing competition.
Fernandez said had the P3.1 million been utilized to clean esteros as intended, the spread of dengue in the barangays would have been checked early on.
Stagnant water in esteros and drainage canals have become breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod has invited Alcantara to appear in the council session this week to explain where the funds are as Fernandez has called for an investigation in aid of legislation.
City hall insiders say there are speculations that the amount was, indeed, withdrawn from the city’s account but was allegedly diverted to fund the lakbay-aral cruise of barangay kapitans to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in May.
Fernandez reminded the barangay chairmen that the ordinance requires them to liquidate the sums of money received with receipts of expenses incurred for the clean-up of esteros.
To date, no barangay captain has submitted any liquidation report.