Home News Cagayan Valley Cagayan TIMELINE: The delayed approval of Cagayan’s 2017 budget

TIMELINE: The delayed approval of Cagayan’s 2017 budget

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- After nearly a year of deliberations, committee hearings, and heated political exchange, the 9th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cagayan finally approved the Provincial Government of Cagayan’s 2017 Executive Budget in a special session on December 1.

In another special session on December 15, the provincial board eventually overturned the line vetoes of Governor Manuel Mamba, voting 9-2.

To understand how and why this happened, here’s the timeline of events from the submission of Cagayan’s 2017 Budget, as well as the political “drama” that transpired before, during and after the budget hearing process, until its ultimate approval.

2016

August 10, 2016 – In a regular session, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan discussed the importance of having an Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) for the crafting of the 2017 Annual Budget. The ELA, which has been practiced in the previous administration, enables executive and the legislative branches to discuss their priority projects to have “unified vision, mission, goals, and objectives.”

August 11, 2016 – SP submits Resolution no. 2016-9-108 entitled, “Resolution Earnestly Requesting the Honorable Governor Manuel N. Mamba to Initiate and Cause the Formation of an Executive and Legislative Agenda.” Having “no feedback” from the executive department, an ELA never happened.

A board member told The Northern Forum that the provincial board, as a collegial body, of Cagayan had repeatedly asked for a dialogue, but Mamba refused.

August 17- September 15, 2016 – The provincial board called the executive department to submit Calendar Year 2017 Annual Budget, in a regular session. The executive, meanwhile, has been conducting budget hearings in its part.

October 16, 2016 – This was the date of the deadline of submission of the annual budget of Cagayan, as mandated by the Local Government Code (LGC). Yet, no budget proposal was forwarded to the provincial board from the executive department.

October 19, 2016 – Bagyong Lawin devastates Cagayan and nearby provinces, prompting Governor Mamba to “delay” the submission of the budget to consider and cover rehabilitation from the super-typhoon.

November 4, 8, 15, 2016 – In these sessions, the SP repeatedly called the attention of the executive to submit the 2017 budget because failing to meet the October 16 deadline meant Mamba would be subject to criminal and administrative penalties as stated in the LGC and other applicable laws.

November 24, 2016 – After budget deliberations, the Provincial Development Council (PDC) convenes and approves the Local Development Investment Plan (LDIP) or the Provincial Development Investment Plan (PDIP). The LDIP is the first requisite in the deliberation of the budget because this will be the basis of all programs of the provincial government. Thus, this needed to be tackled or approved first.

December 12, 2016 – Governor Manuel Mamba submits the LDIP to the SP which later deferred it after questioning the constitution of the PDC and the representation of non-government organizations in the PDC.

2017

January 19, 2017 – The executive department (governor) submits the 2017 Executive Budget to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. This was 95 days due from the mandated deadline of the LGC.

January 20, 2017 – The executive resubmits the LDIP and submits the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) to SP. The AIP will serve as a short term plan and is the second requisite before tackling and approving the budget.

January 27, 2017 – The board tackles for the first time the LDIP and AIP in their regular session.

February 6, 2017 – In a flag ceremony at the Capitol, Third District Board Member Rodrigo De Asis appeals to his co-board members to “approve” the proposed 2017 budget.

February 13, 15, 17, 20, 2017 – The provincial board continues its deliberation of the LDIP for 2022-2017 and AIP 2017 with the Provincial Finance Committee and other resource persons. Questions were raised and resource persons were asked to answer them in these consecutive sessions.

March 22, 2017 – SP remands the PDIP to the PDC through SP Resolution No. 2017-9-329 with its findings, observations, and recommendations. SP said this was done for the PDC to consider their suggestions and comments to be able to revise the PDIP, since the SP can only review the PDIP and cannot directly change it.

April 10, 2017 – In a flag ceremony at the Capitol, Governor Mamba tells capitol employees to “be ready” to operate under a re-enacted budget. This means the budget and plan of his predecessor Governor Alvaro T. Antonio and approved by the 8th Sannguniang Panlalawigan before stepping down in June 30, 2016 would be followed for 2017.

April 11, 2017 – Governor Mamba hits the provincial board for “nitpicking” over the non-passage of the 2017 budget, saying P403 million proposed projects will not happen over non-passage of 2017 budget.

April 11, 2017 – SP receives a letter from the governor “addressing” the findings and recommendations of the SP in its Resolution No. 2017-9-329. Yet, Governor Mamba reportedly did not convene the PDC and only gave his own opinion as governor. The SP therefore considered this as his own position and not that of the PDC.

April 25, 2017  – At least 25 mayors in Cagayan province signs a resolution of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cagayan chapter led by its President and Tuao Mayor Francisco Mamba Jr urging the SP to approve the budget

April 28, 2017 – In a Northern Forum report, Vice Governor Melvin “Boy” Vargas Jr releases a statement that Governor Mamba’s remarks on the delayed budget was “uncalled for” and “baseless,” adding that Mamba has all to be blamed on the delayed passage of the budget.

May 5, 2017 – Governor Mamba files a petition for mandamus to Regional Trial Court Branch 03 Judge Marivic Cacatian-Beltran to mandate SP to tackle only the budget in plenary and to hold daily sessions.

May 31, 2017 – PDC en banc convenes and approves an updated PDIP to SP. In this convention, SP’s Resolution no. 2017-9-329 was reportedly not presented to the PDC.

June 13, 2017 – Cagayan Provincial Information Office (CPIO) releases a press release reporting the non-renewal of capitol job order and contractual employees due to the delayed budget. This was the first of many reports of CPIO highlighting possible consequences of the budget’s delay, while attacking and blaming the SP.

June 14, 2017 – CPIO releases another PR, reporting the imminent closure of three community hospitals because of the unapproved budget. These were the hospitals in Santa Ana, Gattaran, and Alcala towns.

June 16, 2017- PDC submits the revised or updated PDIP to the SP. The board receives PDC Resolution No. 1, series of 2017, approving and endorsing to the board the updated PDIP 2017-2022.

June 17, 2017 – CPIO posts an editorial claiming the SP as “heartless” and “selfish”, belying the SP’s statement on CPIO sharing “wrong” information on their budget.

June 20, 2017  – Vice Governor Vargas finally hits back at CPIO in a Facebook post, ordering the office to be “responsible” and “fair” in reporting information on the provincial government. Vargas dismisses the CPIO’s claim that some hospitals were to be closed, several job orders will not be renewed, and the politicking against Mamba.(READ: Cagayan prov’l board hits CPIO for ‘false’ claim on closure of hospitals)

June 21, 2017 – SP tackles the updated PDIP in its 44th Regular Session, and refers it to the Committee on Finance and Appropriation (CFA) chaired by Vice Governor Vargas for study. This is followed by a CFA committee hearing at 2 PM that same afternoon.

June 21, 2017 – CPIO releases an editorial accusing some members of the board and the vice governor as puppets of a “corrupt” veteran politician from Cagayan.

June 22, 2017- The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Cagayan Chapter under the leader of Tuao Mayor Francisco Mamba urged the SP to pass the budget. (READ: Cagayan mayors urge prov’l board to pass annual budget)

July 4, 2017 – Board Member Cristopher Barcena posts on Facebook some “questions” for Mamba on the closure of hospitals and the P500,000 development assistance to barangays which will be given to Agkaikaisa Cagayan instead of barangay officials, and telling him to “prioritize” health services instead. (READ: Barcena: Cagayan hospitals should be prioritized)

July 4, 2017 – CPIO releases an editorial in response to former information officer and current board member Barcena, accusing him of diverting the issue from the delay of the budget.

July 12, 2017 – More or less 100 protesters reportedly composed of former job order employees of the provincial government who were removed holds a rally in front of SP. Despite this, the board still held its regular session.

July 12, 2017 – After several bickering between the executive and legislative branches, CPIO Rogie Sending attends an SP session for the first time. In the plenary, Cagayan ex-officio Board Member and Philippine Councilor’s League Cagayan Chapter President Maila Ting-Que questions CPIO as a division in the capitol. Sending maintains he is under the office of the governor.

July 12, 2017 – In the same session, Vice Governor Melvin Boy Vargas Jr said in his privilege speech, ‘We won’t be tamed by “political pressure, harassment,” as another response from the online attacks of the CPIO.

July 31, 2017 – Governor Mamba sends a letter to the SP through Vice Governor Vargas stating that department heads “cannot appear” to the board in plenary and in session unless it pertains the 2017 budget, citing the effectivity of mandamus.

August 1, 2017 – Governor Mamba appeals again to the SP to approve the 2017 budget during the Mappalabbet Festival in Enrile. In his speech, fed live on CPIO’s Facebook page, he urged board members especially in attendance to give him a “chance” to serve the province. (READ: Mamba renews call for Cagayan budget’s passage)

August 2, 2017 – A second rally in front of SP building is held for the second time; this time “around 2000” protesters storm the capitol. Board Member De Asis once again spoke in front of the rallyists who called for the approval of the budget.

August 10, 2017 – Capitol Chief of Staff Atty. Maria Rosario Mamba-Villaflor sends a letter to the SP reiterating that department heads were ordered by Governor Mamba not to attend SP sessions unless the agenda is only the proposed budget.

August 14, 2017 – Judge Cacatian-Beltran of RTC Branch 3 “partly” grants Mamba’s petition and directed Vice Governor Vargas and the provincial board members to not have any agenda other than the proposed budget, in weekly sessions, until its approval. (READ: Court grants Mamba’s petition to mandate prov’l board to fast track P3-B budget’s passage)

August 16, 2017 – In a phone interview with The Northern Forum, Vice Governor Vargas reacts to the mandamus, saying the budget was always tackled in session even without court rule. He also said the budget is also being deliberated even beyond sessions and at the committee level.

September 4, 2017 – Governor Mamba sends a letter to the SP to note that the PDIP is merely a “document required” by DBM and is “not integral in the passage” of the budget.

September 7, 2017 – In a regular session, SP suggests a public dialogue with the governor on issues raised from the budget. They also passed a resolution clarifying which version of the PDIP will be used as basis for the budget deliberation.

September 13, 2017 – Oversight agencies such as the Department of Budget and Management and Department of Interior and Local Government attends session and clarify that an approved annual budget without an approved PDIP and AIP is deemed “inoperative.” They also reaffirm that the PDIP and AIP must first be approved before the budget.

September 20, 2017 – Provincial Planning and Development Officer (PPDO) Elisa Umoso faces the SP in plenary. Umoso clarifies that the original PDIP is still the basis for budget deliberation, saying the governor answered the remand in his official capacity as governor and not as PDC chairman, and without convening the PDC.

October 4, 2017 – After conducting hearings to deliberate and study the PDIP, the finance committee renders its report to the SP, recommending the approval of the five-year plan. SP finally approves the PDIP 2017-2022 with reservations from known Mamba allies BMs Rodrigo De Asis and Rosauro Resuello. (READ: Cagayan prov’l board OKs Mamba admin’s development plan

October 6, 2017 – In a phone interview, Mamba ‘downplays’ the provincial board’s approval of his five-year development plan.

October 11, 2017 – PPDO Elisa Umoso returns to SP in a regular session to answer the provincial board’s further questions.

October 18, 2017 – The first wave of department heads attend the SP after being invited to defend their respective office’s budgets. These continued on until November 2017.

October 27, 2017 – RTC Branch 03 junks SP’s motion for reconsideration on 2017 budget deliberation for lack of merit.

November 3, 8, 9, 2017 – Provincial board continues its budget deliberations on plenary as other department heads were invited to defend their respective budget proposals. SP moved its 63rd regular session from November 15 to November 9 because of a national convention in Davao.

November 17, 2017 – PDP-Laban Luzon chair Martin Diño who administered Governor Mamba’s oath-taking ceremony to the ruling party, hits Cagayan SP for ‘delaying’ the 2017 budget. (READ:PDP-Laban Luzon chair hits Cagayan SP for ‘delaying’ budget

November 22, 2017 – In an interview, Vargas responds to Diño, saying he “feels sorry” for Diño for not “knowing the real story first” before commenting against the provincial board. (READ: Boy Vargas on Diño’s tirade vs SP: ‘I feel sorry for him’

November 27, 2017 – Cagayan board revisits the issue on development assistance to barangays in a mobile session in Gattaran. The final group of department heads defended their budgets to the SP. Subsequently, the SP’s finance committee held a meeting to be able to create a final report on the budget.

December 1, 2017 – After hearing and adopting the CFA’s report, the provincial board finally approves the 2017 budget with reservations from BMs Rodrigo De Asis and Rosauro Resuello in a 27-minute special session, suggesting some provisions such as adding more fund for hospitals and giving development assistance back to the Internal Revenue Allotment of barangay government. Effectively, the court mandamus was lifted and SP could now tackle other agendas.(READ: Provincial board finally approves Cagayan 2017 budget

December 4, 2017 – Mamba, through Chief of Staff Atty. Mamba-Villaflor, says he will line veto the appropriation ordinance. He called the delay of approving the province’s 2017 budget “unjustifiable” but its approval was a “welcome development.”

December 6, 2017 – The provincial board receives Mamba’s line vetoes.

December 15, 2017 – Voting 9-2, SP overturns Mamba line veto in a special session. SP’s version of the 2017 budget is followed. Those who voted against the veto were: Board members AJ Ponce, Cristopher Barcena, Maria Olivia Pascual, Jesus Florenio Vargas, Vilmer Viloria, Arnold Layus, Perla Tumaliuan, and ex-officio board members Maila Ting-Que and Larry Ting. Board Member Karen Turingan was absent. (READ: Cagayan prov’l board overrides Mamba’s veto on 2017 budget

The provincial board tackled the 2018 Annual Budget in its first regular session of the year on Friday, January 5, and will be their only agenda until its approval. Northernforum.net

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