Many questions are being raised over Cebu City's spending for COVID-19 response in 2020 that were not covered by the annual report of the Commission on Audit (COA). An investigation by the city council looked deeper into the nagging controversies that angered residents during the first year of the pandemic – the allegedly overpriced cans of sardines that were distributed as relief to different barangay (villages) and the construction of a multi-million-peso quarantine facility. The council, the legislative body of city governments in the Philippines, is composed of the vice mayor, who sits as presiding officer, elected councilors, and representatives of barangay chairpersons, the youth, and other relevant sectors. The sleuthing came mostly from opposition councilors, and was thus dismissed by allies of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella as politicking months ahead of the election campaign. But the critics made the same allegation of electioneering against Labella, who, they said, politicized COVID-19 aid in the city when relief assistance was distributed by the Mayor's Information Liaison Officers (MILOs) instead of the barangay chairpersons. City hall had a COVID-19 relief budget of P2.7 billion in 2020, including nearly P186 million from the national government. More than P2 billion came from supplemental… Read full this story
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