When I was elected board member, I knew that what I learned about local government, public officers and admininstrative law in law school and what actually transpires in real life would be different. But I thought I knew what they were and that I was prepared for it. I knew there were obstacles but I thought I could avoid or go around them. I thought wrong.
This will probably get me in trouble, but i just want to vent out my confusion and frustration.
I signed up to be a local legislator. When i campaigned thats what i told my constituents. "I am a lawyer, vote for me because you need a lawyer in drafting ordinances and resolutions."
I did not sign up to be an engineer, a contractor and/or a project builder. That's the Executive side--the Governor and Mayors. Not my concern. That's written in the Local Government Code.
But as I said, what I learned in law school and what actually transpires in government life are not the same.
Board members, like Congressmen, are given our share of the pork barrel, albeit at a more miniscule amount---way, way smaller.
Congressmen are allocated the Priority Development Aid Fund (tama ba?) or PDAF. Board members receive Barangay Development Fund or BDF.
Kung pwe-pwede lang isosoli ko yung allocation ko kasi nga ayokong gumawa ng project, just like what Senators Lacson and Arroyo did. Pero gaya na sinabi ni Senator Santiago, useless din yun kasi na-appropriate na yung pera. Kelangan gamitin.
For this year (July-December 2007), 350k was allocated per district. Maliit yung amount. pang-barangay development talaga.
Upon the funds release, dozens of requests and resolutions reached my office asking for:
1. 100 bags of portland cement
2. jetmatic water pump
3. monobloc chairs
7. even a covered court
at 350k? are you serious?
Anyhow, i didn't immediately grant any of these requests. Instead I focused on my campaign promise of giving priority to education and jobs.
I allocated 60k to sponsor one teacher in a public elementary school that was in dire need of one. This was facilitated under the Saguip Maestra Project of the Provincial Government.
Next, I allocated 50k in TESDA scholarships because I believe that the job demand is for vocational and technical course graduates.
That left me with 240k. Now the confusion and frustration begins.
First, cement. Outside, one bag of cement would cost between P180-P190. Fine. So I had my secretary prepare the documents to purchase those goods. Only to find out that price is different in government projects.
It's true. Under the Government Procurement Act, government projects undergo competitive bidding and are awarded to the LOWEST BIDDER.
So here I was expecting a much lower amount. P150? P160 siguro.
Lo and behold, "government price" is P235/bag!
C'mon, man! Nagbibiruan ba tayo?
To make matters worse, it would take 41 days to process the request. That means If I request today, sa November pa made-deliver yung semento.
Aynaky, stop! stop muna yung cement requests na yan. pag-iisipan ko pa. Lugi kasi ako eh. Eh I want to maximize my 240k.
A colleague of mine suggested that I try alternative mode of procurement, which is reimbursement. As long as maliit lang yung amount involved, pwede magpa-reimburse. So akala ko maiiwasan ko yung what I felt was overpricing by doing the reimbursement thing. boy, was I wrong.
For another project, I spent 10,000 for paint to renovate the trophy room of the province's sports office. I had my staff collect all the official receipts. I had my secretary prepare the necessary papers to bill my BDF. Akala ko naisahan ko yung sistema na walang "government price."
Lo and behold, my secretary came back and told me that we had to go back to the paint shop and ask them for receipts with the "government price."
WHAAAT? There's no escaping them!
So I inquired, what is the "government price." Take note, I was expecting a lower price.
HAHAHAHA! How naive of me.
Let's take for example a gallon of latex paint with a SRP of P450. the "government price?" P650!
So, yung 10,000 na ginastos ko, pag-ni-recompute mo in "government price" would total P13,000!
P13,000 deducted from my remaining 240k! eh dapat 10k lang yun. Eh di nawalan tuloy ako ng 3,000. Saan napunta yun? and more important, bakit ganun? di ba dapat LOWEST POSSIBE PRICE? Bakit lalong nagmahal?
Kaya ako dazed and confused.
ps: bato bato sa langit, ang tamaan wag magalit. walang personalan. naglalabas lang ng sama ng loob.