News and UpdatesIn the NewsCouncil returns budget to Mayor Ipe

Council returns budget to Mayor Ipe

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The City Council of Dumaguete has again returned the City’s proposed P1.2 billion Annual Investment Plan (AIP) to the City Development Council for further review.

Voting 7-2, the Council carried the motion of Councilor Tincho Perdices to return the AIP, a prerequisite for the approval of the 2024 budget of the City.

Voting along with Perdices were Councilors Tony Remollo, JV Imbo, Bernice Ann Elmaco, Marife Cordova, and the two new legislators – ABC President Jovencio Tan and SK President Miguel Asiniero.

Only Councilors Rey Lyndon Lawas and Karissa Faye Maxino voted to approve the AIP, while Councilor Frank Esmeña Jr. abstained.

Councilor Perdices said they returned the budget to the Chairman of the CDC and the secretariat with a request that they act on the first letter sent last month.

The Council had written the CDC to recommended the inclusion, among others, of P20 million for lot acquisition for employees housing, P15 million for the socialized housing project called Banilad Plains View Housing, and P15 million for the purchase of equipment for the City Engineer’s Office.

Perdices said the AIP was supposed to have been prepared as of June 7 but the City Development Council’s AIP reached the Council on Oct. 13.  He said that beginning November last year, their Committee spent the afternoons reviewing the budget.

He said when they completed the review in December, the Council wrote the CDC about their recommendations. He said this will require that the CDC will have to meet as a full body to approve the budget, considering the suggestions of the City Council.

The City Development Council is composed of civil society organizations, department heads at City Hall, all the barangay captains, and the Oversight Committee for Finance of the City Council, represented by Councilor Perdices.

Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo took the setback heavily, and said, short of accusing the Council of intentionally delaying the budget, the concerns of the Council would have been easily addressed “if they had good intentions”.

Remollo said the people will not be happy with this information when they know the effect of the non-passage of the 2024 budget. “The budget for the barangay projects will be zero!” he said.

City Administrator Lani Ramon said without the budget, the 20 percent development fund cannot be tapped, as well as the five percent Gender and Development Fund, and the one percent fund for senior citizens and for  PWDs; disaster fund and other programs and projects with hired contractual employees.

Ramon, a former three-term City councilor, said that since she joined the executive branch as City administrator, she now has a better understanding of how the government functions, compared to the time when she was a legislator.

Vice Mayor Maisa Sagarbarria brushed aside the Executive’s criticism, saying the Council is not delaying anything. “The approval of the AIP and the budget is now in the hands of the Mayor. All he has to do is convene CDC full council, and have them approve or disapprove our proposals. If our suggestions are approved, well and good. If disapproved, we can’t do anything. Then, the CDC will return the AIP to the Council,” she said.  (AP)

 

 

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