Department heads in the City Hall who cannot perform the mandate of their offices should either resign or request for transfer to other offices where they can be effective so they will no longer waste people’s money. This statement was issued by Councilor Joe Kenneth Arbas after lambasting the City Veterinary Office headed by Dr. Lourdes Socorro for being ineffective in performing her task including pest control in the city’s public market. He said it is ironic that the city collects P3 million annually for pest control in the public market but there seems to be no action at all.
Arbas said Socorro has also failed in implementing other tasks including the implementation of the Dog Pound Ordinance series of 2004. The city councilor blamed Socorro for what he believes is negligence on the part of the city veterinary officer in pursuing the construction of the dog pound that has a budget of P500 000.
Socorro, on the other hand, argued it is not her office that is responsible for the construction of the dog pound and the fabrication of mobile holding pens and that she cannot move due to lack of technical personnel and a vehicle. From the original personnel complement of 40, the City Veterinary Office personnel went down to 26 due to retirements. Socorro said that she made letter requests a number of times in the past and at least three times during the present administration but were not acted upon. The letters, however, cannot be found.
The City Veterinary Office has seven vaccinators tasked to vaccinate 15 000 dogs throughout the city and 7 meat inspectors. They do not have dog catchers, caretakers and pound keepers, a driver, and a vehicle to load stray dogs. In lieu of dog catching, Socorro said the office had to simply campaign for dog leashing and extermination of stray dogs with the use of tranquilizers but the person in charge has also retired.
An increase in dog bites was recorded in Dumaguete with 295 victims from January to March and 298 from April to June this year which Arbas said is already a concern.
Arbas, who is chairman of the committee on markets, hinted to source out the pest control aspect if Socorro is incompetent to do it. Socorro countered she needs certified pest applicators to do the job not just job orders.
Arbas also gave an ultimatum to employees of the city slaughterhouse in Bajumpandan which is under the City Economic Enterprise Office headed by Engr. Jose Ronnie Fortin. Arbas received reports of rampant absenteeism, butchers reporting for duty while under the influence of liquor, stealing of body parts of hogs, and scraping of hog’s skin after scalding the carcass in hot water that is not done well. If these issues are not resolved up to the end of this month, Arbas said he will resign as chairman of the committee on market and slaughterhouse but before doing this, he will bring certain employees of the slaughterhouse before the Civil Service Commission or even before the Ombudsman.