Fuel dealers cut supply to GenSan city government over delayed payments

General Santos City Hall. Mindanews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 5 August) — Trucks and heavy equipment of the city government here have been sitting idle for weeks after fuel dealers cut their supply allegedly for overdue accounts.

Alvin Veneracion, Executive Assistant for Barangay Affairs at the City Mayor’s Office, on Thursday said they are trying to source out money for fuel as funds for it have apparently been depleted “even if it is still mid-year.”

Funding allocation for fuel is normally done annually, meaning for this year, it was done by the past city administration.

City Budget Officer John Quimosing said none of the City Hall departments were able to foresee the huge increase in fuel prices when they prepared their budget for this year.

Quimosing said the city still has money to pay the fuel suppliers.

He said the dealers’ apprehension is understandable, but “there is just a delay in the processing of the payments.”

He explained that a bottleneck happens in the processing of payments depending on the “quality of documents submitted,” like the required receipts, signature and attachments.

Veneracion, on the other hand, said dealers stopped supplying fuel as collectibles had ballooned to millions of pesos. He said they have yet to ascertain the exact amount.

But he assured they will find means that services to the public will continue, especially on the use of heavy equipment in public works and garbage collection.

“The city mayor is in talks with the fuel dealers to resolve the issue,” he said.

Most affected by the supply cut are trucks and equipment of the City Engineering Office and the Waste Management Office which needs trucks for garbage collection and to operate daily its apparatus at the sanitary landfill.

Meantime, the city has sought help from barangays as well as private companies that still have fuel to spare.

In an interview over Brigada News TV, Waste Management Office head Ferdinand Pareja said that for days now, they are using equipment loaned to them by a mall in maintaining the landfill.

City councilor Jose Edmar Yumang, who heads the City Council’s Finance Committee, said his committee will look into the issue on whether there are still funds available for fuel, citing that the city has a budget deficit of P100 million.

It may be recalled that the previous city administration was dragged into a controversy over unpaid debts to owners of hotels that were utilized as quarantine facilities. (Rommel G. Rebollido/MindaNews)