CLARK, Philippines- Several board members took the general assembly of barangay officials of Cagayan province as chance to explain their “side” amidst political rift between Governor Manuel Mamba on the delayed passage of the 2017 and 2018 budget.
Vice Governor Melvin Vargas Jr and board members Cris Barcena, Olivia Pascual, Vilmer Viloria, Perla Tumaliuan and ex-officio board members Maila Ting-Que and Larry Ting said the delayed passage of the 2017 budget was a result of “strict” compliance of budgeting processes, and to “protect” the funds the intended for the barangays.
In her speech, Ting-Que denied the board is politicking the budget proposal of Mamba.
“Kanya-kanya po kami ng sinuportahan, kanya-kanya po kami ng kasama. Nataon lang po na sa kasalukuyang pamunuan namin ngayon, 2016-2019, hindi sinasadyang pareho po ‘yung aming nakitang problema, na pare-pareho po yung nakita naming pagkukulang,” Ting-Que said before more than 700 barangay officials present at the 15th Congress of the Liga ng mga Barangay (LNB)-Cagayan Chapter.
Ting-Que said the budget proposal of Mamba neglected the public health, persons with disabilities, and other social services.
The ex-officio board member, who is the president of the Philippine Councilor’s League (PCL)-Cagayan, was referring to the move of the Mamba administration to merge hospitals, leading to the closure of some public hospitals.
To resolve this, the provincial board cut budgets from several departments and funded the augmentation of personnel to hospitals.
“Nagkataon lang po talaga na alam po namin na wala na po sa hustong proseso sa pagpapasa sa amin ng budget, at ang pagpapasa sa amin ng aming papeles,” she added.
The provincial board only passed the 2017 budget on December 1, after months of deliberation and word war with Mamba.
‘Lost funds for roads not our fault’
Ting-Que said she would rather had let go the P328 million for roads, than had approved early the “erroneous” P2.2 billion proposed budget for the province.
“Kung para sa gobernador, P328 milyon ang nawala, para po sa amin sa board members, ang naisalba po namin ay mahigit P2 bilyong pondo ng probinsiya. ‘Yan po ang binantayan ng vice governor at ng SP,” she said.
She added most of the 2018 budget proposals contained no program of works, a key component of the budgeting processes.
Board Member Barcena also hit Mamba for passing the blame on them, saying the budget will be “inoperative” have they approved the version of Mamba’s proposal.
Barcena said the proposal of Mamba to give barangays P500,000 for their Development Assistance to the Barangay will devoid the whole appropriation ordinace as the Local Government Code mandates the province to allot aid to component barangays.
“Kahit pa Enero, Pebrero, noong nakaraang taon natin ipinasa ‘yung budget, it will still be useless because we’re inoperative. Hindi rin natin magagamit,” Barcena said.
“Ilang buwan na naming sinasabi sa executive department na ayusin nila ang mga dokumento. Meron pang pagkakataon na hindi nila papuntahin ‘yung kanilang department heads,” he added.
Lamenting it was all about politics allegedly inflicted by the Mamba administration, Barcena asked the barangay officials to ask Mamba to agree to the SP’s request for Executive-Legislative Agenda, which according, will heal the defects of the budget proposal.
Meanwhile, in an emotional speech, Board Member Pascual admitted she opposed the transfer of the funds for roads from Baggao and Lal-lo to Tuao and Sto. Niño.
“Kung kasalanan pong ilaban ko yung pondo na para sa Baggao at Lal-lo, ay oo, aaminin ko, kasalanan ko. Kasalanan ko ba ang ipaglaban iyon,” Pascual said.
She was referring to the move of Mamba administration to transfer the fund for the KALSADA Program from Baggao and Lal-lo to the towns of Tuao and Sto. Niño.
For the P328 million for roads to be downloaded, the KALSADA Program should be implemented first.
The implementation, however, was met with issues as the Sangguniang Panlalawigan questioned the legality of Mamba’s move to transfer the funds, delaying the issuance of notices to proceed for the project. Northernforum.net