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Laur VM buys ‘free lunch’ for SB staff daily

January 24, 2023 Steve A. Gosuico 307 views

LAUR, Nueva Ecija – This first-termer vice mayor does not mind shelling out P600 from his monthly pension as a retired police captain to shoulder the budget expense for his co-workers’ lunch meal at the office from Monday till Friday here.

“Gusto ko kasi makatulong sa aking mga kasamahan dito kahit sa maliit na bagay lang iyong makita nila ako na nagmamalasakit sa pamamagitan ng pagsagot sa free lunch nila,” said Vice Mayor Benjie A. Padilla, a former deputy police chief assigned in this town who entered politics to become a two-term municipal councilor from 2016 to 2022 and now as presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB).

On top of the free lunch for his 16 co-workers, Padilla told the Journal Group that he is spending another P1,500 from his personal funds every Monday, which serves as the SB’s regular session day.

This is to cover the food meal for lunch, including the snacks of those SB members attending the session, added the 59-year-old vice mayor.

“Layo-layo ang pagkain namin noong una, kanya-kanya kumbaga kaya naisip ko ito, magluluto dito at sama-sama kakain para bang magkapamilya,” explained Padilla, whose wife works at the municipal assessor’s office in Bongabon town, also in the province’s third district.

Aside from providing free lunch at the SB, Padilla said he also pushed for the putting up of personal tables and chairs for each SB member, including the installation of air-conditioning units to improve the working environment at the office.

“Dati-rati nagse-session kami sa Bulwagang Pampulungan para kaming nasa barangay lang wala kaming sariling mesa, ngayon kanya-kanya kami ng mesa at de-aircon pa ang opisina,” he said.

The top SB official, who admitted entertaining thoughts of quitting politics in 2025, added he wishes that his would-be successor or the next incoming vice mayor would follow his lead as a public servant so that every co-employee at the SB is happy.