TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Cagayan Vice Governor Melvin “Boy” Vargas Jr on Wednesday, July 12, said they will continue to do their job in scrutinizing the proposed budget despite the “political pressure” and “harassment” thrown against them.
In his privilege speech during the session on Wednesday, Vargas said he is speaking on behalf of the Sangguaniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) to “to set things straight and to put things in their proper perspective” on issues regarding the delayed passage of the Governor Manuel Mamba’s proposed budget.
The Cagayan Provincial Information Office (PDIP) have released series of “editorials” in the 90,000-strong Facebook page attacking the provincial board for not passing yet the 2017 budget.
Vargas admitted they have yet to approve the Provincial Development Investment Plan (PDIP), Annual Investment Plan and the Annual Budget of the Mamba administration.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has raised concerns on the proposed budget of Mamba, including the non-funding of several community hospitals, the provincial scholarship program and the “unjust” unequal distribution of barangays’ finances assistance.
“Opo, hanggang sa ngayon ay hindi pa naaaprubahan ang PDIP, AIP at Annual Budget ng ating probinsya. Ngunit hindi po! Hindi po tayo magpapadala sa political pressure o kahit ano pang paraan ng harassment na ibinabato po nila sa atin,” Vargas said, reiterating that Mamba was three-months late in submitting the plans and budgets.
Vargas added that Mamba did not follow the budget process, one of the alleged causes of the delayed budget.
Records from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s Secretary showed Mamba first submitted the Annual Budget on January 19, 2017. Vargas said the governor should have submitted the PDIP and AIP first as this will be their basis on studying the budget.
Vargas cited the DBM-NEDA-DILG-DOF (Department of Budget Management-National Economic Development Authority-Department of Interior and Local Government-Department of Finance) Joint Memorandum Circular No. 01, Series of 2007, in saying that Mamba should have submitted the AIP not later than August 2016.
But Mamba, according to him, only submitted the AIP on January 20, 2017
“Hindi po natin maaaring iapruba ang budget ng walang AIP. At hindi rin po natin maaaring iapruba ang AIP ng walang Provincial Development Investment Plan o PDIP. Meron po tayong batas at prosesong dapat sundin,” Vargas said.
“Ang proseso ay itinalaga bilang paraan ng pagsiguro na hindi masasayang ang pera ng taumbayan. Ang hindi pagsunod sa proseso ay hindi pagrespeto at pagpapahalaga sa tungkuling bantayan ang kaban ng bayan,” he added.
At the later part of his speech, Vargas appealed to the public “not to quickly believe on false information.”
“Kaya nga po sana naman, huwag maging instrumento ang ibang tao sa pagbibigay ng mali at baluktot na impormasyon sa ating mga kababayan. Ito po ay hindi nakakatulong, sa halip, lumilikha lamang ng mas malaking dibisyon,” he said. Northernforum.net