Capitol doors open, Rename e-Gwen?

Posted on January 8, 2013

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The Capitol building’s main doors were opened to the public yesterday for the first time since the Dec. 19 standoff when a Malacañang suspension order was defied by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia. Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale led Capitol employees in Monday’s flag raising ceremony, her first since assuming the post. No speeches were delivered and the morning ceremony was over after the singing of the national anthem. Magpale later announced that she was seeking the replacement of Marivic Garces as head of the Provincial Social Welfare Office. She also said she favors renaming the e-Gwen program to the original “Our Cebu Project” which was proposed by its partner foundation, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., a change she said would help ensure that it “would no longer be politicized.” Only five of 15 Provincial Board members showed up for the flag raising ceremony. They were the acting governor’s son Miguel Magpale, Peter John Calderon, Arleigh Sitoy, Thadeo Ouano and Jude Thaddeus Durano Sybico. With public access restored in the Capitol building in the main front doors and rear doors, a sense of normalcy prevailed even as Garcia continued to hold office for the 20th day and receive supporters in the east wing where the Governor’s Office is located. Magpale convened department heads for a meeting then received visitors in her office at the Legislative Building. CHANGES Magpale announced her latest staff change. After recommending the replacement of Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre to the Department of Finance, Magpale said she would also relieve Marivic Garces as head of the Provincial Social Welfare Office . Magpale said she will write to Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman to appoint a new head. Garces also served in the Bids and Awards Committe of the province. “We’re just looking for the right people. I have to work with people who are more effective. I have to be with people who I’m comfortable with as I deliver the promise for transparent and accountable kind of service,” she said. She said there was a need to put up a new secretariat in the Bids and Awards and Committee. When asked when the changes will take effect, Magpale said “as soon as all the necessary details (will fall into place).” Magpale said she is amenable to having Salubre assume the vacant position as head of the Provincial Assessor’s Office but that he would have to apply for it. She said OIC Provincial Accountant and Assistant Treasurer Manny Guial may eventually be named provincial treasurer. Magpale said she wants Eva Encabo back to head the General Services Office. Meanwhile, Magpale said she favors renaming the e-Gwen program to the original proposal of its partner foundation to “Our Cebu Project” so that it “ would no longer be politicized”. The e-Gwen program, started in 2008 with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., stands for Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures. The program is the subject of a pending Provincial Board ordinance to institutionalize it but Magpale said some changes were needed. “Whoever wins awards in this program won’t be comfortable with the name E-Gwen. Originally, what RAFI (Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc) wanted was ‘Our Cebu Project.’ I hope this program would no longer be politicized,” Magpale said. The province gives out annual awards for the “Green Champion”, “Model Town” and “Good Neighbor” in a province-wide contest of local governments down to the purok level. In a statement, RAFI said: “RAFI remains an apolitical institution. We work for what is good for Cebu. Our partnership with the Province of Cebu will continue and it will work with its authorized representative.” /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter with Carmel Loise Matus and Christine Emily Pantaleon

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