TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Cagayan province lost more than P328-million worth of road projects for 2017 due to delayed passage of 2017 annual and supplemental budget.
In a message to Jonathan Paul Leusen Jr, regional director of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cagayan Valley, DILG assistant director for Project Development Services Rosalinda Ilaya confirmed their P328 million for roads projects had been forfeited due to compliance issues.
The amount covered the national counterpart for the 28.9-kilometer road projects in 12 towns.
Ilaya said DILG had asked the provincial government of Cagayan to fully comply with the requirements of Conditional Matching Grant to Provinces (CMGP), one of which is the passage of the budget for the province’s counterpart.
The CMGP is a government program aimed to repair, rehabilitate and improve provincial roads.
With June 2017 first deadline unmet, Vice Governor and provincial board presiding officer Melvin Vargas asked the DILG to extend the deadline.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and DILG Acting Secretary Catalino Cuy later jointly approved the petition of Vargas and gave the provincial board until September 15 to pass the budget.
Diokno and Cuy said the request was granted based on the justifications provided.
The new deadline, however, was not met again.
Ilaya said the funding was then revoked as it was stated on the letter to Vargas that “no further extension will granted after September 15, 2017.”
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.
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.
In a press release, the Cagayan provincial information office (CPIO) said Governor Mamba was “dismayed” because Cagayan will no longer receive the national assistance for the province’s road.
Mamba claimed the provincial board’s “delayed” approval of the budget was to be blamed on the forfeiture of Cagayan’s CMGP allocation for 2017.
He said the provincial board should just “focus” on overseeing the implementation of the projects, instead of “delaying or stalling its approval.”
On his defense, Vargas said it is “unfair” for Mamba to put the blame on SP’s side.
Vargas then put the blame to Mamba, saying he had transferred the projects supposedly for Baggao and Lal-lo to Mamba’s hometown Tuao and Sto. Niño, without SP’s approval and revision of the plan for 2016, since the budget was intended for road projects for 2016. Northernforum.net