TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Cagayan Board Member Maila Ting-Que belied the claim of Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba that the provincial board is to be blamed on the forfeiture of the supposed P328 million of road projects for Cagayan.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday, January 3, Ting-Que said Mamba caused the “first delay” for the implementation of the P328 million allotment for Cagayan’s Conditional Matching Grant to Provinces (CMGP) when he proposed to transfer road projects from original recipients.
Documents obtained by Northern Forum showed Governor Mamba wrote to then Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno on July 5, 2016 asking for the realignment of funds originally approved for the towns of Baggao and Lal-lo, to the towns of Tuao and Sto. Niño.
Baggao and Lal-lo was earlier identified to receive the road project funding for previous administration’s KALSADA program, which was succeeded by CMGP.
A DILG official, in a letter to its regional counterpart, said the CMGP allotment for Cagayan had been forfeited due to “compliance” issues on the requirements for the program.
“The Governor, just on his 5th day in office requested the DILG for a [reprogramming] of the approved funds for the top 2 priority roads… This resulted in the [first delay] for the implementation since legal questions were raised on behalf of the original recipients,” Ting-Que said.
The ex-officio board member said the determination of Baggao and Lal-lo as recipients of the road project went through “rigorous criteria set by the DILG itself.”
“The Municipalities involved worked hard to be able to qualify and eventually be chosen as priorities of the said program, it is understandable and inevitable that the process by which these priorities were suddenly realigned by the governor, and it is important to note – without the required legislative approval, be under scrutiny and review,” she added.
In its joint-circular memorandum for CMGP, the DILG and the Department of Budget Management (DBM) said one of the requirements is that all 2016 KALSADA projects should have been given notices to proceed.
The provincial government, however, has yet to secure notices to proceed for its 2016 KALSADA projects since the fund for its counterpart had to be resubmitted for SP’s approval after Mamba’s move to transfer the funding to other recipients.
“Every requirement in the granting of the said fund had to be resubmitted and re-approved by the PDC (Provincial Development Council) and DILG first. This again took time.,” Ting-Que said.
“No referrals for the 2017 CMGP was ever submitted by the Governor to the SP for proper action. The SP, despite the Lack of Official Communication from the Governor issued a resolution asking for an extension when a letter was copy furnished by the DILG as a reminder that a notice to proceed for the kalsada 2016 was needed as a prerequisite for the download of the 2017 CMGP,” she added.
A reliable source inside the provincial board said the previous leadership of provincial legislative body had already approved the budget for the 2016 KALSADA program for Baggao and Tuao, which could have warranted for the notices to proceed.
The delayed approval of the 2017 budget contributed to the forfeiture of the CMGP since the budget for the counterpart of the province was inserted at the 2017 Supplemental Budget.
Budget rules said the provincial board cannot pass nor tackle the supplemental budget unless there is a passed appropriation for the annual budget.
The provincial board of Cagayan only passed the 2017 annual budget last December 1, and the supplemental budget before the yearend, after months of political bickering.
The delayed passage of the budget prompted word war between the local executive and lawmaking body, with Mamba accusing the provincial board of “politicking.”
The provincial board replied saying the ball was on Mamba’s hand for submitting the PDIP, the Annual Investment Plans, and the budget 4 months late, apart from “not following the budget process.”
Mamba also filed, and later won, a petition for mandamus before the Regional Trial Court in Tuguegarao asking the provincial board not to include any matter in their agenda except for the budget. Northernforum.net