By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
GUBAT, Sorsogon (BicolToday.com/25-April-2012) – Still reeling from the negative pronouncements in the media by ex- mayor Guillermo De Castro of Bulan town incumbent representative Deogracias ‘Ding’ Ramos of the second district of this province took a bold step debunking the insinuations of his “formidable opponent” to represent the interest of the nine towns of the congressional district.
The salvo started when he said, that his congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is now in good stead as he promised during his run for congress in 2010 election. The incumbent pointed to the reforms he initiated in releasing the funds which is now supervise by the local village chiefs instead of suppliers or contractors as a practice. This he said is an affirmation that he is Delivering Basic Reforms on how a representative must utilize his development assistance fund. Delivering Basic Reforms is synonymous to Deogracias Banares Ramos.
Three hundred thousand worth of project are disbursed to different barangays to address programs in health and nutrition, agriculture and food security, educational assistance, environmental protection, infrastructure development and livelihood assistance which of date testimonies of officials of beneficiary barangays attests that the scheme benefitted the end user of the projects more.
The practice in bidding out the projects was a source of corruption, thereby shortchanging end-users and undercuts audit regulations especially the peso for value rules.
Ramos snide at De Castro’s remark that Bulan town is progressive, pointing to the loss of roll-on, roll-off (Roro) vessels plying the Bulan-Masbate route which stopped operation. He likewise said that his political foe must show proof that he manipulated barangay officials to hide his favored contractor, saying that the village chiefs are the one administering the projects.
This was a pointed reference that perhaps corrupt practices occurred during the mayoral term of his detractor. In the coming months, I can produce documents as proof that corruption permeates the Bulan town hall, he said.
The entry of De Castro in the congressional fray and the support of Governor Lee is a debacle that Ramos needs to hurdle. But the presence of barangay chiefs and elders at the media briefing is an indication that he has the support of the grassroots to upend his debasement of political machinery. The village chiefs are one in opinion that when they manage the project attached from the PDAF of the congressman, they can accomplish economically and timely.
This is again a direct assault on the executive order of Mayor Helen De Castro that mandates barangay leaders to secure a municipal monitoring team certification on the completion and quality of work before they accept completed project charge to the congressional funds of the incumbent. It was an act seen by Ramos as emasculating the authority of the barangay chairman and a calculated political harassment, which the provincial board considered as intrusive to the authority of the village chairs. The measure was remanded back to the lady executive by the provincial board per clarificatory opinion of the DILG provincial director.
Hitting his opponent in its Achilles heels, Ramos pointed to the intention of the De Castro to set-up a political dynasty which is a sign that no political or development reform will be expected from him if he is to represent the district in congress.
Taunting his rival, Ramos just laugh when informed that mayors of Irosin, Juban and Bulusan of the district joined De Castro’s media mileage for it was not an indication that the mayors will support his rival down the wire for among the mayors, they would prefer a second term for him than nipping out their ambition to seek the seat by 2016. One of the mayors who refused to be identified said that his options are open, he is one of those rumored eyeing a contest with Ramos.
Ramos was telling everyone that a De Castro in congress will spell doom to town executives who are potential representative in the 2016 national election. He was referring to the dynastic mind of the De Castro. The councilor son is being groomed to run as municipal mayor, a preparatory move for a congressional ambition. The mayoral chair is occupied by De Castro’s wife. At this early, Ramos pronounced that he will support Vice-Mayor Robles in her bid to win the mayoral post of the town. BicolToday.com
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