By Teresita S. De Lima, Bandillo NewsMag Editor

To make merry the anxious-filled Christmas of the townfolks, Mayor Margarita Moran-Aguinillo played Santa Claus and distributed 20,000 good packs to her constituents in all 38 barangays last Dec. 22.

            Everybody seemed happy but Councilor Agustin Villadares had cobwebs on his mind as he claimed that he was “confused” with his computation of the P7.2 million worth of Christmas goods since the Sanggunian Bayan (SB) has only authorized P3,121,869.86.

            In a privilege speech on Monday’s January 4 session, he said there is a big difference between the approved appropriation of P3.1 million with the purchased goods that amounted to P7.2 million, reminding his colleagues that the money is public funds and spending it is a shared responsibility between Aguinillo and the SB. He furthered that they are all accountable to the public, citing the Local Government Code.

            He admitted to have personally canvassed the prices of each item in the package, namely: five kilos of good quality rice at P40 per kilo or a total of P200; royal spaghetti pack (noodles and meat sauce) at P119 per piece and two pieces of lucky 7 corned beef of 150 grams per can at P21 each or a total of P42.

            In all, the pamaskong handog pack cost P361. “Multiply 361 with 20,000 representing “households/families”, he said he arrived at the computation of P7,221,805 million. He based his figures from a Facebook page of the LGU-Buhi Official at 10:17 AM on Dec. 21 last year, which posted 20,005 packs.

            Where did the LGU get the P4.1 million considering that the SB only approved P3.1 million? he asked.

            The P3.1 million was a re-appropriated money under the LDRRMF (local disaster risk reduction and management fund) and backed up by MDRRMC (municipal disaster risk reduction and management council) resolution No. 12 series of 2020 which said that it may be utilized for relief goods distribution. The amount was certified as correct by town treasurer Nilda Salvo and Sharlene Custodio, OIC-municipal accountant.

            The discrepancy is so huge that he asked for an explanation, or “ clarification ” from the executive department.

            Appropriation committee chair Loreto Camasis was mum when encouraged by Vice-Mayor Jofred Balagot to comment on Villadares’ “confusion”.

            Meanwhile, budget officer Dr. Ely Z. Yapan declined to answer questions from Bandillo in its visit to his office yesterday. While he said he respects the role of media in the community, Dr. Yapan preferred to explain to the appropriation committee which Balagot ordered to convene, to defer to the feelings of important town officials, when pressed for comment.