By Joseph C. Bacani
DAGUPAN CITY – The long-unpaid emergency workers here can now have sighs of relief!
In a special session presided over by three-term City Councilor Karlos Liberato E. Reyna IV, the majority members - along with two minority members - passed last Friday the supplemental budget that funded the compensation of hundreds of emergency workers.
The majority members present were City Councilors Alipio Serafin D. Fernandez, Marvin V. Fabia, Jeslito C. Seen, Joaquin D. Reyes and Reyna himself.
Minority members who likewise voted in the affirmative were City Councilors Alvin T. Coquia and Jesus D. Canto.
Mayor Belen T. Fernandez expressed intense gratitude to the legislators who stamped their approval on the measure, saying that the single stroke “fully proved their deep concern for the welfare of their co-workers in government.”
City Councilor Redford Christian P. Erfe-Mejia objected on technical grounds – claiming that a two-thirds vote is required under the SP’s House Rules.
Seen, however, was quick to defend their move as he emphasized that the Interim Rules – drafted by then City Councilor Marc Brian C. Lim, now the city’s Vice-Mayor – does not specifically provide that a two-thirds vote is required in passing a supplemental budget.
In the absence of the two-thirds vote provision in the House Rules, Seen cited the provision of the Local Government Code which requires a majority vote in the passage of an ordinance.
The provision of the Local Government Code was eventually adopted by the SP as a mode in passing Draft Ordinance No. 0-497 Approving and Appropriating Supplemental Budget No. 3, in the total amount of P15.992.
This amount represents reversions from personal services savings as of July 2013 under various offices account in the amount of P12.292 million and balances under maintenance and other operating expenses of various offices totaling P3.7 million to the appropriated account of the general fund, to cover the cost of various expenditures.
Councilor Guillermo P. Vallejos left the hall without casting his vote.
The job order employees - popularly known as emergency workers - cannot help but profusely thank Mayor Belen T. Fernandez and the aldermen who sympathized with their cause in the passage of the supplemental budget.
Joy M. Fernandez, an emergency worker detailed at the City Tourism Office and Tony Ceralde of the Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) both said that finally they can pay their long overdue debt.
Morgan Diaz, another emergency worker detailed at the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Office, said that his salary will greatly help his family. (CIO/11-22-2013)