'Minority delays budget'-A A +A
Thursday, January 17, 2013
VICE Governor Genaro Alvarez is turning the tables on allies of his rival for the 2013 election as the ones who are now delaying discussion of the disapproved 2013 annual budget.
This, even as Board Member Miller Serondo acknowledged that the budget was included in the agenda but pointed out that it was placed at the bottom of the list of matters to be discussed during that session.
Alvarez cited the regular session on Wednesday, which was adjourned without discussing anything, even the 2013 annual budget. He pointed out that part of the agenda in Thursday’s session was the 2013 annual budget.
It was also in the agenda of last week's regular session, which was adjourned after Board Member Miller Serondo invoked Section 323 of the Local Government Code.
The said provision reportedly states that the body cannot tackle any other matter except the unapproved budget of the incoming year for the next 90 days.
It now appears that they are the ones delaying the discussion of the 2013 annual budget, Alvarez said.
He explained that with the 2013 annual budget in the agenda, the Provincial Board (PB) will have to discuss it but, because of what Serondo did, the 2013 budget was not tackled when it could have been discussed in last week's session.
As long as it is in the agenda, it will have to be discussed, Alvarez added.
Budget should be first, not last, on agenda
Serondo, in a separate interview, said that while the budget was included in the agenda, it was placed as the last matter to be discussed on the list.
The budget should be discussed first before any other matter can be discussed by the body, insisted Serondo, who cited the provision of the Local Government Code that mandates such procedure for the body.
Alvarez also explained that other matters in the agenda are usual references from the local government units (LGUs), which can be referred to the concerned PB committees.
Other ordinances on budget of the LGUs can automatically take effect within 30 days if the PB cannot act on it, he added.
‘Delay in budget deprives Negrenses of healthcare’
For his part, Board Member Melvin Ibañez said there is no reason for the opposing camp to disapprove the 2013 budget, as the office of the governor has already submitted the itemized list of projects for the 20 percent Development Fund, which board members allied with Alvarez are vehemently opposing.
"If this is the only provision in the budget which they are opposing, they can always put safeguards and conditions, such as oversight function of the SP and prior SP approval before the governor can disburse such funds," said Ibañez in a separate interview.
Ibañez lamented that it is the lowly Negrenses in terms of health care and the Capitol employees in terms of their bonus and salary increase who are being directly adversely affected by what he implies as the overly politicized move to oppose the passage of the 2013 budget.
"The 100-bed extension of the Silay provincial hospital is supposedly set to open this month while the Sipalay district hospital is set to open by April or May. These expansions of medical services for the Negrenses, particularly our poor constituents who cannot afford the services of private hospitals, need more, not less, nurses," Ibañez said.
Because the PB has not yet passed the 2013 budget, Ibañez said Capitol cannot continue the services of contractual nurses who were hired from funds coming from last year's supplemental budget.
"Since the 2013 proposed budget was not passed, we have to operate under the 2012 reenacted budget. Such reenacted budget does not provide funds for the services of the contractual nurses. Thus, Capitol will face great difficulty in providing for the medical care of our constituents, especially if, God forbids, a calamity such as a dengue outbreak occurs in the province," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 17, 2013.