THIS one information we believe, should immediately be investigated by the concerned agency or agencies of the local government of Davao City.

     Yesterday morning when we were somewhere in the Calinan area to do an errand from the woman of the house, we accidentally bumped into an old friend years back. This friend of ours invited us for a cup of coffee in a nearby street side establishment serving the beverage. We obliged for old time sake and of the fact that we had not seen each other for quite some time. But as usual we kept our guard against the possibility of CoViD 19 transmission. 

    In our succeeding conversation this friend of ours asked us if we are still active in media this time of the pandemic. We had to tell him that we strive to be but our media work is now devoted to column writing unlike before I joined Davao Light.

    Our friend told us, that we were therefore the appropriate person for him to approach to. He told us that he would want certain shenanigans by some barangay officials in the third district have somehow come up with an “innovative” idea how to rob the government of money that the people have been paying  in terms of taxes. According to this friend of ours, his wife being a member of the indigenous people’s (IPs) community was the one who discovered an anomaly which apparently could have been practiced by some officials of the barangay he lives. And it is even possible that the same is also prevailing in some other barangays not just of the third district but the other districts as well.

     This friend told us that her wife being a member of the indigenous tribe was given a slot in a project in her barangay where a group of residents thereat are made to work for ten (10) days and paid about P300 daily. She falls under the quota of a member of the barangay council who represents the IPs in the barangay law making body. Aside from his wife, says our friend, there were other IPs who also worked for the project as quota of the IPMR council member. And he said that it could also be possible that similar arrangements were also made by the other barangay council members, even perhaps including the barangay Captain.

     He could not tell us exactly what the project was as well as the sources of the funds used to implement the same. He said he was not even aware if it was a national government funded project or by the local government. But according to him his wife and the rest of those hired were made to clean the barangay road sides including the shallow canals that serve as the barangay’s drainage system. In our mind it could be the city’s “Cash for Work” project.

      He mentioned that with hardly any work available in this worst of times, the implementation of the project was a very welcome development in that particular barangay in the 3rd.  But what made it revolting, our friend told us, is that the said barangay official who recruited his wife, and possibly some others, had set a condition for her.  The condition was that she should share the fifty percent of the total wages she will receive after the ten day work project.

      What made the condition even more disgusting was that the one who was supposed to get the fifty percent of the wages was a close relative of the one who was given the quota. Our friend’s wife could not help but be frustrated although she eventually relented. After all, the one to get the fifty percent was also her relative and fellow IP.

     However, what got the goat our of our friend’s wife and several others who could have been similarly given such condition by the same official or by the other barangay executives, was that the recipient of the other half of the wages earned, were not made to work. In other words, they simply stayed home and waited for the payroll time and go to the barangay to collect. 

     When this “scam” came up in a barangay council session because some others of those who actually worked on the project complained, the barangay captain professed no knowledge about the arrangement.

     Now, the money involved here is just “peanuts” compared to the amount allegedly to have been cleverly robbed from the national coffers by certain corrupt officials.  However, robbing big or stealing small is the same. It is still robbing the people’s money.

     For now we are not yet ready to divulge the names of those involved and the barangay where the “small robbery” was perpetuated.  We however, strongly encourage the offices concerned in the local government concerned to do some discreet investigation into it, specifically in the Tugbok district barangays and not remain contented with just the signed payroll of the workers on the project. 

     For certain the names of the people who got the other half of the wages without working for it are in the payroll and these are duly signed by them as acknowledgment of their receipt of their pay.

     Indeed this scheme is very disgusting. Imagine getting half of the wages of those who really toiled hard while they (the taker of the other fifty percent) were just relaxing in the shade of their residence! Indeed, big corruption or small corruption is corruption just the same.


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