Binay wants peace with Lapid

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay has renewed his call to Senator and mayoral aspirant Lito Lapid, to sign an election peace pact presented to him last week.

Binay said it was only through Lapid’s agreeing to the covenant for HOPE (Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Election) that the Kampi-Lakas- Christian- Muslim Democrats’ slate in Makati would manifest their sincerity to play by the book and abide by poll rules and regulations.

“We are hoping for an orderly and honest election to be observed and respected by all candidates in Makati. It is unfortunate that they apparently boycotted the event,” said Binay, president of the United Opposition.

Lapid and his entire ticket under the Kampi coalition were absent in last week’s signing ceremony organized by the Commission on Elections-National Capital Region and the Makati police.

Later, Lapid, through his spokesman Alex Marcelino, claimed that there was a “miscommunication” because of another ceremony also on the same scheduled time.

Marcelino said it was the Lakas party that initiated the morning event and that it was Binay’s camp that snubbed them.

“The conspicuous absence of any of the local candidates of the administration at the covenant signing may be an indication that they have no intention of following election rules,” Binay countered.

He led his group consisting of Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, his lawyer-daughter Abigail Binay, Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr. and all the candidates for councilor of the “Makati Performance Team” to the signing.

Binay is running for re-election in the May mid-term polls and if granted a new mandate, he would serve as Makati mayor for the sixth time.

He belongs to the Genuine Opposition-PDP Laban party.

Meanwhile, over P170 million has been allocated this year for the operation of the city-managed University of Makati, P40 million higher than its last year’s budget.

Binay said the increased funding would be used to improve facilities and to pay for the tuition of an average of 9,800 enrollees annually.

The fund allotted for UMAK is P176,759,000 versus P135,483,441 in 2006.

Binay said each student enjoyed very low fees through an annual average subsidy of P18,000 each enrollee from the city government.

At present, UMAK collects a token fee of only P1,000 per semester from Makati residents, and P3,000 from non-residents.

UMAK accounting chief Aurora Serrano said the total fee collection is equivalent to only 13 percent of the total budget allocation of the city government for the university.

“To put it in another perspective, for every P100 spent for UMAK, only P13 is being shouldered by the students, while the remaining P87 is being subsidized by the city government,” she said.

“This is why we always appeal to our students to study hard because Makati is pursuing all possible means to give them practically free, but quality education.”