Barangay captains to hold provincial congress in ‘ritzy’ QC events venue?

The 315 barangay captains in Catanduanes have reportedly scheduled their 2022 Provincial Congress this March 16-18 in an expensive events venue in faraway Quezon City.

Last Feb. 11, 2022, Liga ng mga Barangay (LnB) Catanduanes Provincial Chapter president and ex-officio Provincial Board Member Carlomagno Guerrero I issued Memorandum Circular No. 001-2022 to all punong batangays, barangay kagawads, barangay treasurers and secretaries, Sangguniang Kabataan chairmen, provincial and municipal Liga staff and “other interested officials, employees and barangay coordinators” informing them of the conduct of the Congress at the Blue Leaf Cosmopolitan.

The planned congress has the theme “The Role of the LnB in ensuring the continuity of Basic Public Service in the face of COVID-19 Pandemic and defining its role in the post-recovery period in the light of the Mandanas Garcia Ruling.”

Liga president Guerrero encouraged the concerned officials to join the activity “on official business,” with the registration fee of “P17,500.00 only” chargeable against their respective local funds.

Apparently, the circular was issued after the Catanduanes Liga received a letter from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño interposing no objection to the conduct of the activity as long as minimum public health standards and all legal requirements are properly complied with.

Last week, Liga officials were placed in a quandary when the DILG regional office manifested its view that holding the provincial congress in Metro Manila is unnecessary and that the registration fee being charged is exorbitant.

It is claimed that DILG Catanduanes officer-in-charge Leandro Gigantoca indorsed the matter to the regional office, with Regional Director Atty. Anthony Nuyda sending back a firm rebuff of the LnB plan.

“Please be informed that this level strongly discourages the conduct of the Liga ng mga Barangay Provincial Congress outside the province of Catanduanes,” RD Nuyda stressed in highlighted text.

The March 3, 2022 letter noted that the Local Chief Executive, as head of the local government, is principally responsible and accountable for the prudent use of scarce financial resources keeping in mind desired LGU organizational results and development outcomes.

“…Since this is a Provincial Congress, we cannot find any cogent reason why the activity must be conducted in Metro Manila,” he pointed out. “Besides, the topics reflected in the Program can actually be discussed locally as there are equally competent resource persons that can be invited in the region.”

Atty. Nuyda also emphasized that the amount of P17,500.00 as registration, which is chargeable against local funds, is “clearly EXORBITANT” given the pandemic.

“It is prudent that resources of the barangay shall be devoted to COVID-19 response and other needs of the community such as helping and revitalizing the economy,” he added.

Located at Robinsons Bridgetown, Quezon City, the Blue Leaf Cosmopolitan is an events venue with three airconditioned function halls with capacity of 330 persons each.

According to its Facebook account, Blue Leaf offers a package for P160,000 covering 70 guests for four hours of use while a catering service using the venue markets its services at a cost of P3,450 per person for a maximum of 150 guests.

As of presstime last Sunday, it is not yet known whether the LnB provincial congress in QC would proceed, as barangay officials are reportedly confused as to who to follow between Usec, Diño or RD Nuyda regarding the faraway junket.

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