Tuesday, October 05, 2004

UPDATE on the Rice Subsidy

Yesterday afternoon, October 4, a pre-bidding conference with prospective bidders for our rice subsidy was held by the UP Manila Bids and Awards Committee I (BAC I). The All UP Workers Union Manila was represented by Mr. Ernesto Ragudos upon my request as I have a prior speaking engagement with 2nd year nursing students of the Manila Central University (Kalookan).

Those who participated were the Primavera Rice Mill Corp. (the previous rice supplier) and Masaganang Sakahan (a Land Bank Subsidiary).

Based on the bidding schedule, the bids will be opened on Monday, October 18, 2004 and delivery of rice is expected one week later. The Union has already opted to have the delivery of rice in the offices and no longer through house-to-house.

There were some problems from PGH but we consider these as procedural in nature that should be addressed by approporiate levels and offices without necessarily delaying further the bidding and delivery schedule.

For those who kept on asking (there were reports that there was already a circulated petition that opted for cash rather than rice) if the fund for rice subsidy would be taken from the P5,000.00 year-end incentive bonus, we reiterate our position that we are against such arrangement. About a month ago, we have already queried the UP Central Administration and we were told by Vice President Martin Gregorio that at this point in time we are only talking here of the rice subsidy, the year-end incentive bonus was yet to be discussed by Management, noting the possibe implications of the austerity program of the National Government.

Considering such responce, we are advising our colleagues especially those from PGH Budget Office to refrain from speculating or disseminating unfounded perceptions. UP Manila's Vice Chancellor for Administration Dr. Arlene SamaƱiego had already talked with UP Manila and PGH Budget people regarding this matter upon query also from our end.

We note that although the P5,000 Year-end Incentive Bonus was already included in the Internal Operating Budget for 2004 while the P1,000 rice subsidy was not; it is not correct to say at this time that the P1,000 for rice subsidy was taken from the P5,000 UP Bonus - until such time that the Board of Regents had already decided on our Year-end Incentive Bonus.

Indeed, nobody, not even the UP Central Administration could forecast what would happen within the next 2-3 months especially on our fund releases from the DBM considering the twisted priorities of the government. That is, if in a worst case scenario, the DBM withheld our remaining fund releases for the rest of year. In such case, our accumulated savings so far and income would not be enough to cover our budgetary requirements for the rest of the year.

It is therefore within our hands if we just let those people with twisted minds in government to kept on their "irritating entertainment" and self-serving pursuit rather than serve the interest of the people. Or, we the people, show them the exit door.

Can we count on you? or you will just remain a kibitzer on such scenario?

Hanggang "usi" na lang ba tayo kahit nilulublub na sa putikan ang ating Inang Bayan at ginugutom na ang marami sa ating mga kababayan?

No comments: