ORMOC CITY – The office of the Public Market administrator here wants to have their own stock of medicines, saying that their workers are usually prone to getting injured while going about their jobs, and could not get adequate medication from the City Health Office (CHO) because there is usually no stock.
Mrs. Delia Vilbar, assistant city treasurer and who has been designated to supervise the public market and bus terminal area, minced no words when making this request, adding that if it was not possible, if the medical expense of those affected could be reimbursed by the city. She is asking if such could be charged to the “other supply expense” item in the budget.
She recounted the plight of one employee whose feet was wounded, and could not get free medicines from the CHO. He had to spend around P 1,000.00 to buy medicines, and since it was work-related, Vilbar feels that the City should somehow reimburse the expense.
Vilbar, assistant city treasurer, is currently supervising the city’s public market and bus terminal.
She made this request during a deliberation on their proposed budget for the market and bus terminal.
Dr. Mario Rodriguez, chairman on the committee on finance, said the reality of Vilbar’s request cannot be denied but legally, they are not allowed to allot a portion their funds to this because ideally, it is a matter for the City Health Office to respond to.
The issue of no medicines at the City Health Office and the various “health district centers” has long been nagging city officials here.
P 22-million for the Public Market
The market committee is asking P 22-million for its operations on 2015. P 5.2-million of the amount goes to personnel services; P 9.0-million for maintenance and operating expenses (MOOE); and capital outlay of P 7.7-million.
Vilbar said that for the capital outlay, they plan to buy a compactor and a backhoe to ease the perennial problem of smelly garbage in the area.
She said this would help the GSO people gather the garbage properly.
With the equipment in place, she added, they can embark on a campaign for segregation to start at the market vendors themselves.
They also are planning to put up a wastewater treatment facility in the area, so that the leachate and dirty water can be treated first before exiting to the sea.
They would also want to have CCTVs installed and a public address system.
There is also the matter of repairing the public comfort rooms. Right now, she said, there are only eight that are functional as those on the second floor of Public Markets A and B have been destroyed by Yolanda.
Engr. Ranulfo Oliveros, city engineer, said that not all of the public market buildings were funded under the Recovery After Yolanda (RAY) funds that the City got from the DILG for the market and Superdome repair.
On the other hand, the Office of the Market Administrator is asking P 8-million for its operational budget for 2015.
The amount includes an estimated electricity expense of P 1-million and repair and maintenance expense of P 6.691-million.
The council asked why they are still asking funds for repair and maintenance when they had already approved, around 3 months ago, they already approved P 18-million for its repair and rehabilitation.
City engineer Oliveros said that the P 18-million was just for the roofing, roofing systems and steel structures, but did not include the repair of other facilities like the comfort rooms.
As to why the roofing of the terminal has not yet been started yet, Oliveros said that the bidding process is ticklish and lengthy. The bidding, he said, was already finished and what is now being worked on is the notice of award. As to who is the winning bidder, he did not say.
Questions, requests from the council
Councilor Tommy Serafica, who has been victimized by the steeply designed and slippery ramp at the New Ormoc City Hall, appealed to Oliveros that they should take into consideration the fate of the public in the repair of the comfort rooms.
He said that the city engineers should ensure the floors are safe to the public because it would be a shame for the city if accidents will happen to the comfort room users.
Councilor Rama, on the other hand, questioned how the city is preventing the collections from the market and the bus terminals from abuse. The rumors of “tong” collections in both places have been rife, including reports of the collectors themselves not remitting the income.
Angelo Roman, city treasurer, said they already have a “bonded” regular employee as overall in-charge to ensure efficient collection and remittance, and it becomes his responsibility to make sure that the collectors are supervised.
According to their data, the average daily collection at the bus terminal is P 19,400.00. Any marked deviations are red flags.
Councilor Gerry Penserga, on the other hand, said he is wondering why there is a plan to put CCTVs on the public market but none for the bus terminal.
Vilbar said this was not included but a supplemental budget can always be appropriated for the purpose.
The proposed city budget for 2015 is P 1.01-billion.