Dear fellow citizens and media,
We cannot but react to yesterday’s statements of the Mayor and the coordinators of the councilors groups, who tried to relativize the arguments and justify their restraint, which showed that in fact, they have no position, i.e. they are not interested in solving this issue at all.
Namely, we believe that the Mayor has sincere intentions and seriously believes that a solution should be found for the Service sustainability, but we cannot agree with the statement that the Ohrid Red Cross requested funds for volunteers’ salaries. Also, we cannot agree with the statements of the coordinators of the councilors groups, quoted by media, in which according to some “they did not receive precise financial indicators, on how much the functioning of the Service costs and what is the part of the municipality in the total costs”, and according to others that “they abstained for the sole reason that the draft decision did not have a financial structure and clear indicators, regarding the exact purpose of the funds required to be allocated from the municipal budget.” From these statements, one can only conclude that the councilors from the government and the opposition are either not interested in this issue at all or act under the influence of other centers of power, which dictate how they should vote.
Nevertheless, the request for support of the Service is based on detailed analysis and assessments presented in the Feasibility Study for sustainability, prepared by top experts in the field, according to which municipalities should participate with 50% in the total budget of the Service, the state in the future through the Directorate for protection and rescue (or in another form) with 30% and 20% the Service would provide from donations and additional services. In the total calculation of the budget, in addition to the material costs for the maintenance of the entire system, there are also costs for insurance, professional development, and for covering the volunteers’ costs they make during the regular training activities and rescue operations, in this case obviously mixed with the term “salary”.
So far, in the past 19 years, the Service has not received a penny from the local authorities and everything that has been achieved is due to the enthusiasm of the volunteers, who in addition to their passion for mountaineering, alpine climbing, and saving lives, are professionally and intellectually realized persons and proven professionals in their fields (engineers, architects, lawyers, doctors, etc.). They do not expect a “salary” as a reward for what they do voluntarily, but expect appropriate treatment and care for them, from the system in which they invest.
Their enthusiasm and selfless commitment brought investments from European funds to Ohrid and built an efficient system, for whose results and financial performance we gained the highest marks from donors. Obviously, this system of European values, the councilors cannot or do not want to understand, although they say they are aware of its significance.
We will continue further at the same pace, because we know that the progress and prosperity of society bring enthusiasm and striving for high goals. Also, we would like to encourage and motivate other colleagues, enthusiasts from other sectors, to be actively involved in building a healthy society and together, obviously through a long process, to educate future generations of politicians and councilors about the values that exist in the developed world, which are necessary to be implemented in our country. We are here to help everyone who understands and wants to be part of this mission because, as we have said many times before, that is how we understand patriotism.
As it is obvious that the councilors did not read or understand the Feasibility Study, on this occasion, we once again urge them to do so, although, with their act of restraint at the last session, they have already been deprived of the opportunity to decide again, given that according to the Rules of Procedure, the same item must not be again on the agenda of the council in the next 6 months, a period in which their term will have already expired.
In the end, we can only conclude that this composition of the Municipal Council of Ohrid, for two years (half term) remained without position, regarding the importance and significance of the Mountain Rescue Service for the local population and the tourism sector. This act of restraint of the Council will be remembered not only in the history of Mountain Rescue in Ohrid but also in the country.
On this occasion, we express our gratitude to all citizens who in this process express their unreserved support, as well as to all organizations with which we continuously cooperate and support each other.
Due to our obligations, we will end here. We think that to the public everything is more than clear!
FOR THOSE WHO WANT MORE DETAILS WHY DO WE NOT AGREE WITH THE EXPRESSED OPINIONS, IN THE CHRONOLOGICAL EVENTS BELOW:
July 09, 2019, a working meeting was held in the office of Mayor Georgievski, attended by the mayors of Struga, Vevcani, and Debarca, where the sustainability study of the Mountain Rescue Service was presented in detail. Everyone agreed to start a process for a joint resolution of this issue.
October 24, 2019, in the Municipality of Ohrid, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed by the Mayors of Vevchani and Debarca, and the Mayor of the Municipality of Ohrid, due to absence at the moment, signed it later on November 15, 2019.
The request for financial support from the municipality is in accordance with the detailed financial parameters set out in the Study, which was submitted to the Ohrid Municipality services, in printed and electronic form, and it can be downloaded at any time from the MRS website (https://pss.org.mk/za-nas/).
In addition to the detailed financial parameters, the study made a comparative analysis of the organization of rescue services in 4 European countries, as well as a precise legal analysis of the positive legal regulations in the country, according to which municipalities are obliged to form teams for rescue and protection of the population, as well as to allocate funds for that purpose.
November 23, 2020, online coordination of the councilors groups was held, attended by the President of the Ohrid Red Cross and the Head of MRS, who presented in detail to the present councilors the work of the MRS, as well as the results of the Study, based on which the request for financial support.
December 21, 2020, a letter was sent to the mayors and councilors from the region by the European Delegation in Skopje, stating that the process of supporting the MRS has stalled and that it should be intensified in the next period.
Ohrid Red Cross Mountain Rescue Service