The unfinished Larap seniors' social center project (background). In picture are Mrs Josefina Francisco and good friend Mrs Elvira P Hernandez of Parang, Jose Panganiban. - MWBbuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
THE money earmarked for the construction of the Larap and Luklukan Sur’s senior citizens’ social halls remains intact with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
This was stressed by Jose Panganiban town mayor Ricarte Padilla to clarify a recent MWBuzz report that the P500,000 earmarked for the two projects – with each getting P250,000 – was missing.
Padilla shed light on the issue in an email to Samuel Tatom, secretary of the LaPIMa (Laking PIM Ako), an association of families who benefited from the Philippine Iron Mines (PIM) some 50 years ago.
Padilla told Tatom that the DBM decided to delay the release after the provincial unit of the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) took interest in taking over the two projects.
The mayor said he objected to DPWH’s move to handle the project itself for the two senior citizens associations as it is supposed to be under the jurisdiction of the local government of Jose Panganiban.
He said that the fund was only allotted to either Larap or Luklukan Norte, but if the LGU would be the one to do the project, both projects would be completed with the same amount of money.
The funding was allotted last May by the office of Vice-President Jejomar Binay, who is in charge of the program looking after the country’s senior citizens.
The Larap share was supposed to be released last October, according to Josefina Francisco, president of the Larap seniors, who has been following up the funding with the office of the mayor ever since.
However, it did not happen, she told MWBuzz in a text message.
Francisco said she was informed through a representative from the Larap baranggay council towards the end of last October that the funding for the project would come from the 1% of the 2013 municipal budget, to become available during the first quarter.
She was told that the 1% allocation had already been used up for the year.
But Francisco, 78, said that they were not after the money from the 1% allocation but the fund allotted to their social center by Binay amounting to P250,000.
The unfinished Larap seniors social center has been waiting to be completed since 2010.
The Larap seniors were able to build the shell of the building – four walls of hollow blocks with no roofing beams yet – through fundraising activities.
“We badly need a social center for our members … we need a place of our own for our recreation and regular meetings,” Franciso told MWBuzz last April.