No staff for senior citizens’ office in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/31 August) — City Hall has neither provided personnel nor finished the pavilion of the dilapidated building for the Office of Senior Citizens’ Affairs (Osca), a problem blamed on the “trickling” manner of disbursing funds by the city government.

Alfonso Goking, president of the Cagayan de Oro Federation of Senior Citizens’ Associations (Cafesca) also complained last week about the alleged piecemeal release of the budget for the repair of the Osca building.

“Until now the Osca is being staffed by Cafesca volunteers. Remember, Osca is an extension office of the city’s social welfare and development department. Wala’y empleyado diri sa siyudad assigned diri sa Osca,” said Goking.

He said the presidents of Cafesca’s 99 chapters all over the city are already serving as directors of the senior citizens barangay desks, and their federation volunteers are spread thinly as they have always been.

Section 6 of Republic Act 9994, the Act Granting Additional Benefits and Privileges to Senior Citizens, mandates “the City Social Welfare and Development officer or by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development officer, in coordination with the Social Welfare and Development Office,” to assist in Osca’s “plans, activities and programs.”

In an interview Wednesday, city administrator Griscelda Joson said they are still in the process of looking for personnel to be assigned to the Osca. She acknowledged that the Osca is under the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

“I have asked several department heads, including CSWD, if they could spare personnel support for Osca but they complained they were undermanned. No department head has yet volunteered a staff to deploy to Osca,” said Joson.

Goking also complained that the Php60,000 annual budget from City Hall for Osca’s operations is not even enough for the membership forms they print.

“Under the law (RA 9994), the city must allot half of one percent of the city’s total revenue and the city now has a total revenue of Php1.8 billion. So why does City Hall not give at least Php5 million to Osca? Dilapidated na kaayo among office. Just look at our pavilion, it has frames and flooring but it does not have any roof,” Goking said while pointing to the pavilion project in front of the Osca office.

As for the roofing of Osca’s pavilion project, Joson said that she and city engineer Jorie Bingona have to see the project’s program of work first before they could do anything.

“We cannot just finish roofing their pavilion project because I personally haven’t seen the project’s program of work. We do not know who undertook the project and why it did not include the roofing of the said project,” Joson said.

She said the program of work will specify the full description of the project and who funded the project. She added they would need to study this document first before City Hall could intervene.

She said she finds it odd that a pavilion project did not include its roofing.

“After looking at the unfinished project, I also wondered because normally construction starts with the roof rather than the flooring,” said Joson. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)