BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. yesterday said he is questioning the purchase request of the four departments of the City Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that public funds will not go to waste or be wrongfully used.
Gamboa said he was alarmed to see the amount in the purchase request knowing that the supplies being requested (Vitamin C with Zinc and other supplies) are overpriced.
He said the public is aware of the actual pricing of these items.
Gamboa said that if his intention was to spite or attack his fellow city official, he would have waited for the transactions to have been consummated and the vitamins purchased.
He explained that with his fellow councillors, they approved the request because funds are needed to purchase these items. He only wants the price estimates to be reviewed since he believes it is unjustifiable.
City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said the other day that Gamboa’s allegations is motivated by “simple dirty politics.”
He said Gamboa should have verified the information first since the amount on the purchase request were simply estimates and still have to go through the procurement process.
“He is showing his ignorance of the law and ignorance of the fact. He is putting to shame his fellow councilors who deliberated on the budget during a special session,” Bayatan said, referring to Gamboa.
However, Gamboa stressed that the procurement of the vitamins and other supplies are in bulk orders and negotiated purchase under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.
As such, it is exempted from the provision of government Procurement Act and bidding will not be required.
He also called out Bayatan for insinuating that he refused to volunteer to help in the committees created in response to the COVID-19 situation, stressing that as early as April 28 in a special session, he manifested that it is high time for the government to tap other sectors such as the academicians and even “members of the opposition”.
Gamboa said his stand was to let medical professionals and experts lead the emergency committees.
The city government, he said, should let the medical and IT experts take over with epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, medical technicians, specialists and technical persons to design and run platforms.
Gamboa believes that the Sangguniang Panlungsod should be part of the solution by creating strategies, policies, measures by crafting legislations in favor of these medical practitioners and frontliners and experts who need the city’s support, he added.*