How to Spend P20 Million


Update 2: Thanks to all of your comments. Here’s our favorite from Nats Dalanao: “Next naman na project nila is to build a first class hotel inside the city hall exclusively for them!!” Hehe, oo nga naman. Apologies for not responding to your comments individually, daming hinahabol na trabaho eh.

Thanks too to Anonymous 4:41 for pointing out that the quote “What are we in power for?” should be attributed to Senator Jose Avelino. We mistakenly thought that Senator Ernesto Maceda was the one who said it. Anyways, because of his sleaziness, Maceda was once described by then Manila Mayor as “so young, and so corrupt”. Sana walang “so young and so corrupt” sa Baguio ano? At sa buong Cordillera na rin.

Update: As pointed out by Wil Reyes in the comments, not all Baguio City councilors favored this wasteful purchase of cars. Councilor Antonio Tabora Jr. voted against the ordinance while Vice mayor Daniel Fariñas is quoted to have said that the city “needs more garbage trucks and sanitary landfill as priority, rather than cars”. Kudos to you sirs!

There’s also a discussion on this issue at Jack Cariño’s blog.

***
The honorable members of the Baguio City Council have just voted to spend P20 million to buy cars for themselves. Yup. You read that right. They are going to buy 16 cars — one for each of the 14 councilors, one for the vice mayor, and another for the mayor. Read the story here and gnash your teeth.

Why they need those cars is beyond me. It’s not like they need a car to visit their constituents; Baguio is such a small city with a more than sufficient public transport system so one doesn’t need a car to get around.

Maybe they will use the cars to collect Baguio’s world famous garbage? Nah, a garbage truck would be more fitting for that purpose. But don’t they need cars to carry sick constituents to the hospital? If that is the reason then why not just buy ambulances for the Baguio General Hospital?

Anyways, methinks the only reason they are buying cars for themselves is really because they want to show off. You know, gusto nilang magpa-impress.

But, boy, if you are going to show off, use your own money. In a country where most of the people are poor, public funds should not be used for luxury purchases like this. But then again, maybe the honorable councilors have learned their lesson from a 70’s Manila politician who famously said, “What are we in power for?”

Anyways, in the unlikely event that the honorable Baguio officials will reconsider their decision, let us suggest better ways of using that P20 million. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments but here’s our initial list:

1. Create livelihood opportunities for Baguio’s college kids so they don’t have to prostitute themselves during exam periods to raise money for tuition fees.

2. Use the money to improve the city’s water resource management as well as it sewage system.

3. Give the money to the Baguio General Hospital. Public health needs all the money that it can get.


4. Create livelihood opportunities for those old beggars as well as those who make a living by posing in their native garbs and charging fees to tourists who take their pictures.

5, Create better livelihood opportunities for the garbage scavengers of Irisan.

6. Use the money to stop the uglification of Baguio.

7. Use the money to build a decent public library in keeping with Baguio’s image as an educational center.

8. Use the money to plant more pine trees or to support the Bantay Busol movement.

9. Use the money to support Ramon Dacawi’s consistent fund raising efforts (like this one) to help people in need of good samaritans.

10. (Your suggestions here)

PHOTO CREDIT: Andy Zapata via Flickr.

38 Comments
  1. wow, paano nila masisikmurang ispend ang 20 million sa sasakyan when there are ways worthspending the money? ok yung contrast na nasa litrato. ano yun, pleasure muna o service muna:(

  2. Disgusting. While 20M is peanuts compared to Baguio’s income, they will more likely use the cars for hatid sundo and family excursions.

    London is many times richer and many times bigger than Baguio but the Socialist mayor takes public transport to and from work everyday!

  3. Bill, Thanks for watching the moves they are making in Baguio City hall.

    That’s outrageous! Despicable and totally selfish move of those people seating where they are now to make their lives very comfortable as they turn a blind eye to the poverty around them. Oh man! Shame on them all for this. What a total disrespect to the taxpayers of Baguio!

    Everyone in Baguio should see this and I’m sure the people at the city hall will only look and say: “Go ahead SUE City Hall!”

    Nagadu iti kakaasi apay nga kasta iti aramiden da, ay apu met!

  4. P20 Million will then double with the registration and insurance, fuel and maintenance and even parking fees! God forbid they will also get into an accident and the city will have to pay!
    Maybe they should try using the jeepneys to go around the city and buses to go out of town. That way, they will be literally closer to their constituents whom they are servants to (???)

  5. Very strange judgement call by the Council.

    Is it to allow them to conduct their duties in an equitable manner? That way, rich or poor, each one can conduct their business efficiently and honorably. One has no excuse to receive bribes, sulsul just to keep up with their public obligations.

    If so, specific conditions should be attached to those cars like no using for family and social business.

    If so, where these cars are purchased from and how these cars are purchased/maintained should be monitored.

    Better yet, why not have one or two city council cars only for hatid sunod.

    Better yet, council people should take the jeepney half of the time and use the time to learn how ordinary people live and also listen to people’s feedback.

  6. Why can’t they just walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to work or to anywhere they want to. I think it’s a waste of money. They can just spend that money to create more jobs for people or to improve or finish other projects. This makes me mad.

  7. It’s not exactly a good message they are sending to the voters by adding to the traffic problem and also by using taxpayer money on themselves. Not to mention the fact that the money is probably better spent at tackling the poverty surrounding them. If these gov’t officials want to stay in office or want to be re-elected, they better reconsider this move. But if they just wanted to get in office so they can get a car and alienate their constituents, then they’re certainly taking the right steps to accomplish that.

  8. To be fair, vice mayor Daniel Fariñas and councillor Antonio Tabora Jr were against this measure, according to the article. Also, “councilors Rufino Panagan and Leandro Bayan Jr. were out of the session hall during the deliberation and voting.” uhh… why weren’t those two in the session hall and voting?

  9. hanep! tig-isa sila?

    naalala ko in the early 90s, when there was a move na ayaw ng cityfolks ng baguio: someone organized university students to campaign and join a noise barrage all around the city to express their rejection of the government’s stand on that certain issue… we joined the noise! un nga lang, di ko maalala if we accomplished something :)… pero dapat siguro may gumawa ulit nun! dapat maghila ng mga lata at kaldero at magtatalak at magsisisigaw at a designated time ang mga taga-baguio! dahil baka sa kagustuhang matigil ang ingay eh umayaw na ang mga kagawad na bumili ng new cars. lol, hayy naku! naloka na!

  10. is that from the people’s fund? halla! milliones ang prices ng sasakyan nila ah.hmmm… ang dami ng makikinabang sa 20M na yan.

  11. Let me equate this devilish acts by these councilors this way: It would be like a very large family
    wherein CARS were more significant to each of them than their youngest sibling who needs a meager 200K pesos to fix her heart and bring her to full existence. Just the thought that people worldwide are trying to come up with ONLY 200K pesos for this young girl of Scout Barrio to have a meaningful heart operation, these turdy councilors opt to give the “Baguio Surplus Money” to themselves. It would be a monumental act by either Danny Farinas or Mr Tabora to donate a fraction of their shares and negate receiving the vehicles. Rest of the money should be diverted to what Bill has proposed, especially to Ramon Dacawi’s fund raising and decent city library. Or whatever good causes the remaining funds could be disbursed to.
    Danny Farinas (Acting Mayor) is a boyhood casual friend who knows what hardship is. He would walked to Pacdal Elementary School from his house (3.5 km) and and not accepting the car is the only right thing to do. He already has a personal vehicle.
    And you have that neophyte female councilor, who in my opinion didn’t really learn fast, SHE ALREADY KNOWS THE SYSTEM! Her response was: for her to visit kano her constituents easily! Personally, she would use it to drive to Sabangan to impress her relative VD and kakailians of her good fortune.
    People of Baguio, and SCOUT BARRIO, we know who to get RID OF next election.

    The recently concluded Saint Louis Baguio (Lousians) reunion in Las Vegas last month where the Mayor had a message that went this way: “Let us all continue to tirelessly aim for the best in whatever we do and to always defend and promote what is JUST and RIGHT”. A close friend told me of this reunion in Sin City. Folks, when the mayor comes back from China, let’s watch and see if it’s only just and right for him to take the car.
    Cheers to all the commenters.

  12. 20M for sevice vehicles? WOW!!! maybe your city officials are all SERVICE ORIENTED. mahilig sa magagarang service.

  13. well if these public officials here don’t merely work for the sake of their self-oriented ambitions, they should be wise enough how to spend the money not only for the benefits of a few but to maximize it’s use for the benefit of the most, ilan na lang ba ang mga igorot na officials jan, siguro magiging biased ang opinion ko but i know for the fact na hindi ganun kaluxurious ang mga igorots, our kailyans there seem to be jumping on the bandwagon, magising na sana sila before it’s too late, sayang talaga ang 20 million, ok? my gosh…

  14. This is outrageous, really.

    Just let me comment on this excerpt from this blog:

    “Use the money to build a decent public library in keeping with Baguio’s image as an educational center.”

    Trulily they should support the library — (NOTE: without needing to prioritize our own interest… this is an anecdote).

    Imagine, the City Library ordered from us copies of the BAGUIO magazines that we publish.

    The City Admin office took six (6) months to approve the City Librarian’s request for said few copies.

    Now, another six months after we have delivered the requested magazines, we are still awaiting payment for a measly sum. The check must be sleeping on someone’s desk.

    P20-Million. Such a selfish project!

    Delicadeza is under attack by the bureaucrat capitalists from all levels of government.

  15. How is the library by the way? Is there a new one? I remember a small library at Burnham Park.

    Sa library nalang nila gastusin yang 20M

  16. Wow! They should maybe try taking a jeep just so they can breathe the same air we all do.

    Baguio, how long will we allow this abuse? “Savings” means nothing if the means they use to achieve a surplus is by bloating the budget every year!

    They can use the money if they commission qualified urban planners to make a comprehensive land use plan for Baguio (as mandated by the local government code) where everybody will benefit.

    Or just add 15M more to pay the amount currently due GSIS for the purchase of the Convention Center!

    Isn’t it funny that the surplus was not due to their efforts naman (they just assumed office this year for this term) and yet they, not Baguio, will benefit therefrom?

    Pinky Rondez wants to build a market at Burnham Park because it will allegedly earn 18M/year from rentals. Why not shelve that environmentally oppressive and ill-conceived project and treat the 20M as income instead of savings?

    Of all the #%&*@ things to legislate!

    Question is, are we just going to blog and comment about all that’s happening to destroy Baguio?

  17. Signature campaign.
    I am imagining yards of white cloth, printed on it is the news article about this, posted on all public places like the Cathedral and other churches, Mcdo & Jollibee doors, bus and jeepney stations and few college students with marker pens inviting people to sign..public awareness.

  18. The people get the kind of city officials thay deserve. They were not wise enough to choose better officials…so deal with their corruption and inadequacies now. Ang hirap kasi sa atin, we haven’t learned to choose the right people for public office. Basta may pera, kahit walang alam…ok na. We complain about Baguio going to the dogs, corrupt officials who do not have real intent to serve, and who actually lack foresight and vision as to how Baguio should be rehabilitated but who put them in office in the first place??????

  19. could they just please use a portion of the money as an initial capital for a provident fund where the employees can have a loan, instead and perhaps use the rest of the money to educate themselves. probably, with that amount, “mauntog sila” and realize how foolish they are in approving such ordinance and i thought they wated to SERVE THE PEOPLE. WHAT AN ELECTION PROMISE!!!!

  20. To Baguio Insider who says “Question is, are we just going to blog and comment about all that’s happening to destroy Baguio?”
    Let me counter that statement or impression in this manner: Personally, it is a disappointment that you as a Blogger yourself would evoke the sense that most bloggers have to prove themselves.
    Bloggers posts, readers make comments whether you agree or disagree, readers makes suggestions, and if we don’t let these public servants know what they’re doing is out of whack, then
    you might as well don’t blog about our city’s problems.
    Blogging is a powerful means of communication. In fact, in one of your posts, you prematurely endorsed Ms Elaine Sembrano for Mayor in 2010 being a neophyte councilor and now a recepient of an automobile, at best an allegory of corruption. She just conceded the mayorship by her action in this regard.
    Having said all that, I hope that the people of Baguio won’t forget this event and use it to rid all those who are involved in the next election.
    I’ve gotten good reviews of your Atenara Resto, and as I’ve said before, I’ll sneak in there one of these days.
    Cheers to all and goodhealth.

  21. How to Spend P20-Million?

    Has Baguio done any poverty mapping of its own backyard?

    Most of these officials have gone to the seediest corners of Baguio to shake hands with the city’s poor. Not to mention the palengke that is sooo kadiri.

    Most of these seedy corners of Banguio look like Tondo esteros.

    Some barangays have not even had any decent road for years, name them: Pinsao Crasher, Balacbac, Bakakeng, Guisad Surong, Irisan, Duntogan, Camp 8, Camp 7, etc., etc.

    I am sure though, while some officials have just dug up their own political graves, the others will benefit from this fiasco when the Ordinance gets vetoed because of its unpopularity.

    The officials’ utter lack of vision is a plague in itself.

  22. As tax paying citizens who elect the so called city officials, should we not have a say as to what happens with our money? Shame on you who voted in favour of giving yourselves a car.

    To identify you why don’t you ride around in your new expensive car with registration plates that show it is an official car belonging to the city of Baguio and not to you, so we can monitor what you are doing with Baguio’s money and report back to this blog or through other media services. City business means city business, not driving down to the provinces or for Sunday trips with the family.

    I hope that Councillor Tabora and his colleagues who voted against the idea of purchasing the cars will lead by example and not accept a new car or the money for it, and perhaps be a shining example to his fellow councillors and donate the money to a worthwhile cause, BGH.

    We elected you and have a right to see what you are doing with our money. Why don’t you have a fleet of taxis on standby to service your needs around Baguio instead of wasting our money? It can be arranged through DOTC who can radio a taxi to collect you, wherever you are. Or would that be too shameful for you and belittle your status? A status that’s been laughed at.

  23. Ano ba naman yan kailian nga Rocky Thomas Balisong…apay awanen aya ti maipreside mo dita nga pagsauwan. It would be good na lang kaya for you and the City Council to buy a P20 million bomb specially designed to bomb your swivel chairs. Simply stated…Get the fuck off those offices!

  24. Will said, “It’s not exactly a good message they are sending to the voters by adding to the traffic problem and also by using taxpayer money on themselves. “

    And think of gas emissions that those 16 cars will do to the atmosphere.

  25. I used to remember Baguio as one of the most beautiful and cleanest cities back in the early 70s.

    I’d even thought of one day retiring there but hearing what it’s like today, I don’t believe I will.

  26. Here they go again! And to think I was supporting the activities of the city in being a character city.

    Coun. Weygan authored a 2003 ordinance that created a council whose main task was to prepare Baguio for its conversion into a character city, and to ensure that “righteousness, efficiency, transparency and accountability” rule local governance.

    I am disgusted! Mabalin papispisan yo tapno makakariing da! Baka nakaturog da met!

  27. councilor weygan sir,

    ayan na iti bibliya ti basaran dayta a desisyon ta managbibliya ka met la unay apo? hey p ta maysa ka met nga adu dillaw na iti mapaspasamak iti umili, wat ya say?..he he he diyay kanta ti fokhaus nga ‘you who are on the road (with cars)…teach your……well. he he he he”

  28. This action would reflect the priorities of these elected officials. Who elected them? That would be self explanatory.
    Let the people who elected them asked their priorities again. PErsonal gain or Public Service?
    Our country will never prosper is such case, that a small city such as Baguio have the biggest crocodiles in their own backyard eating their own.

  29. Hi Bill,

    The “famous” or “infamous” remark (depending on one’s perception) that you quoted, “What are we in power for?” was not said by a Manila politician in the 70s.

    The remark was blurted out by Sen. Jose Avelino in 1949.

  30. 10) Use the money to fund recall elections for a new city council. 🙂

    11) add more to the proposed budget so we can fit the cars with bombs.

    12) At least make sure all the cars’ license plates have the same end number, maybe number 1, so we can have a whole day’s rest from these clowns – and maybe be able to start the week right. (Oh, but wait, these clowns more than one car, so scrap this)

    13)Double the amount and just give it to them directly if they all resign from their posts.

  31. 20 Million will be able to:

    1. Provide a pabahay program that is affordable to the constituents– maybe they can benchmark with Puerto Prinsesa’s Pabahay program for squatters along their baywalk.

    2. Fund and provide livelihood projects.

    3. Compensate and sponsor the hiring of additional teachers in public schools

    4. Repair and improve the children’s playground (and probably remove the silt in the burnham lake)

    5. A SPA treatment for all constituents of the CITY— since they are ageing fast because of how “the elected” run the city and since they will buy those luxury cars—

  32. Hey Bill….how about it if we compile all of these suggestions and post it to the City Council. Am not joking. This, way, they will know how disgusting their decision really is. We can also send these suggestions unplugged to the local papers. Bahala na sila to edit. How about it friendz…

  33. This caught my attention… I want to add my comment. I spent some time with the Baguio Councilors when they came here last month for the Baguio/Vaughan 10th year Twinning City celebration. Vaughan is another city above Toronto (Canada). I attended a dinner hosted by the Vaughan city council. (I am sending the photo separately). Before the dinner, as we were enjoying champagne and vintage wines both Baguio and Vaughan councilors exchanged gifts. Vaughan councilors gave out their gifts. One to each delegates, excluding their wives. Simple gifts in a paper gift bags. When it was time for the Baguio city councilors to hand out their gifts, there were plenty, there were so many extra gifts that I was even given one. I felt so ashame witnessing this imbalance. These Canadians probably realized why Philippines is one of the poorest countries.

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