Friday, January 8, 2016

Stand –off between Dagupan Mayor, Dads damaged City

                                                           By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY – Because this city’s legislative body would not approve this year’s annual budget of P768 million, 600 emergency workers and 500 scholars lost their jobs and privileged and more than one hundred million pesos goes to the drain.
GOOD OLE' DAYS. Former Dagupan Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez presided
the Sangguniang Panlungsod (Council) where she got the support of the
majority of the councillors then. Nowadays, she as the mayor and the dads
could barely see eye-to-eye because of their "irreconcilable" differences. 
Mayor Belen Fernandez cited that the inaction by the Sanguniang Panlungsod (legislature) to pass the more than seven hundred million pesos city budget this year had obliged her to dismiss 600 workers and 500 scholars last Friday because of lack of budget.
“We are running now on a re-enacted (2015) budget,” the mayor told Northern Watch.

Reenacted budget according to the Local Government Code is where the local government unit utilized the preceeding year appropriation and operate without the 20% development fund (DF) being utilized by the local government unit.
That would be P138, 200,000 lost if one deducts the 20% DF from last year’s budget of P691 million.
Only the annual appropriations for salaries and wages of existing positions, statutory and contractual obligations, and essential operating expenses authorized in the annual and supplemental budgets for the preceding year shall be deemed re-enacted and disbursement of funds,” the Code says if this city fails to enact such ordinance after 90 days from the beginning of the fiscal year.
There would be P153 million DF here if the P768 million had been approved by the legislure.
She cited the 31 villages would be deprived of P80 million projects she should be giving the barangay chairmen in case the councillors, many of whom came from her ticket in the 2016 election, approved the budget.
“Wala wala, ang karamihan kapitan so sila sa kapitan iyan hindi na sa akin,” she said.
The mayor deplored that P20 million will be lost, too, in the Bottoms Up Budget (BUB) from the Department of Local Government.
She cited that the city’s good financial housekeeping status  will not be maintained, it may lose its chance to win this year the Seal of Good Governance (SGG) and the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) of P5 million.
“We got one month incentive because we have the Seal of Governance; we have the Good Financial Housekeeping. Itong ginagawa nila ngayon, paano magkaroon ng Seal of Good Governance kami . This has no support so ang incentive nila may go back”.

She said one of the reasons that sparked the stalemate with the city council was the P270 thousand overtime pay the councillors wanted her to pay for the overtime of their 13 employees.
The mayor said she paid them already P400, 000 last year.

She did not acquiesce to the P270 thousand demands out of fear that she would be charged of illegal disbursement of funds just like what happened to a municipal mayor in the country.
“Ako naman I want to be safe with the vice mayor. Kung pumayag akong basta basta tapos na iyang overtime saka ka mag appropriate, violation na iyan e.  So sabi ko kanina kay Orly (a broadcaster), safe din naman si Brian Lim hindi lang ako. Tama ang gagawin ko”.

A source, who asked anonymity, told Northern Watch that the other beef of the councillors were of being deprieved by Mayor Fernandez of the perks they enjoyed in the previous administration of Mayor Benjie S. Lim.

Many of these funds, the souce cite, the legislative members use for patronage to the indigents and their constituents who solicit to them.
“During the time of former Mayor Lim, the councillors were spoiled on the spoils
The source cited the share they get from shady contracts and the illegal deals like those in the over priced P16 million 30 hectares’ Awai Deal and the underpriced P119 million McAdore Internatinal Palace deal with ALC Holdings and Management Corporation owned by Businessman AntonioCabangon Chua.

“Lahat iyan wala na ngayon sa Fernandez Administration kaya gutom ang mga councillors,” he said.

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