Rally on budget in La Castellana-A A +A
Thursday, August 29, 2013
ABOUT 500 rallyists reportedly barred the town vice mayor and several councilors of La Castellana, Negros Occidental from leaving the session hall Tuesday, after the Sangguniang Bayan failed to approved its 20 percent development fund.
The rallyists included scholars whose studies are reportedly being paid by the local government through the 20 percent development fund.
La Castellana police Chief Ruben Pajarito said Vice Mayor Chad Feria and councilors were prevented from leaving the session hall for fear they will be mobbed by rallyists.
Pajarito said the town police force, composed of 28 policemen, were all mobilized to control the crowd but he has to ask for reinforcement. About 20 more policemen arrived to augment the police force in the area.
The rallyists have gathered in front of the door leading to the session hall as well as occupied the front of the municipal hall since the session started around 3 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m.
They became unruly after they learned that the Provincial Council failed to approve the 20 percent development fund.
Feria and his allied councilors have to stay inside the session hall for another three hours to wait for the “temperature” of the rallyists to cool down.
Pajarito said it was only when someone he did not name mediated with the rallyists who decided to go home that Feria and the six councilors were also able to go out of the session hall and went home.
On his part, La Castellana Mayor Alberto Nicor had accused Feria and some councilors for “politicking,” the reason why the 20 percent development fund was not approved.
He said he was requesting for the approval of P19,760,846.40, the budget which is allocated for the livelihood programs and scholarship.
He stressed that the scholarship program of the town has been funded through the 20 percent development fund for the past five years, and it is only now that the Municipal Council is questioning it.
Feria, on the other hand, said they should not be blamed for the disapproval of the supplemental budget as he pointed out that the budget being pushed by Nicor was not acted upon by the legislative body due to the disapproval of the 2013 annual budget.
“How can we approve a supplemental budget when do not have an approved annual budget?” he asked.
But Nicor insisted that the Department of Interior and Local Government had allegedly given him a cloak approval after he sought their opinion.
Meanwhile, Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. advised the La Castellana town officials to set aside politics now and settle the problem about the town budget.
"It all boils down to politics," Marañon said when asked for his comment about the situation in La Castellana.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 29, 2013.