Celino vows not to abuse bizmen


ROXAS City —Mayor Angel Alan Celino vowed not to abuse businessmen here.

During the consultative meeting sponsored by the Joint Chamber Office of the Roxas City Chinese Chamber of Commerce Inc. and the Capiz Halaran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the mayor told the attending businessmen “Use me. But I will never use you.”

Businessman William Bantigue clarified what Celino meant. The latter explained that he will not abuse, threaten, bully or “run after” businessmen.

Dale Bernas, another businessman, brought up the issue of some big companies like Gaisano, Caltex, Shell and Petron not paying their taxes to this city government.

These companies pay their taxes to the local government units where their mother offices are based, he said.

Vice Mayor Ronnie Dadivas said certain amendments must be made on the taxation law.

As to the city government’s livelihood program, Celino said a total of P4.5 million was appropriated for “small traders” here.

Likewise, the city government spent some P4 million in helping the victims of the recent dengue outbreak; the money went directly to the beneficiary hospital, he said.

Jessie Contreras, administrator of the Capiz Emmanuel Hospital, said they got an ambulance from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office largely due to the efforts of Celino.

Antonio B. Ortiz asked Celino if he plans to build another terminal to decongest traffic in the city proper.

The family of Bubbles Ong will donate a two-hectare property for such purpose, Celino said.

He also said he would help relocate informal settlers near creeks and other waterways.

The mayor will be held liable whatever happens to informal settlers, as stated under Republic Act 7279, he said.

Ortiz also brought up the Culasi-Libas Bridge project.

Celino said he already discussed the matter with Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, saying the senator ius amenable for the project to push through.

Also, Ortiz complained of the high water and electricity rates here.

Celino said he will settle the matter with Capiz Electric Cooperative manager Engr. Edgar Diaz.

The Metro Roxas Water District’s Board might also be revamped to best serve the interest of water consumers, Celino said.

Celino became emotional when he was asked about his being a “vindictive” mayor for choosing the people he wants to work with, saying the tag was “unfair” and that he did not deserve it.

He was just doing his executive function, he said.

The department heads and other employees who were transferred to other assignments were “floated,” clarified Celino.

On choosing the people he wants to work with, Celino said he was just being true to himself. “I cannot afford to be ‘plastic,’” he said.

Besides, most of the “floated” city officials and employees were back to their respective positions after being cleared of liabilities, he said./PN