Vice guv: Board willing to act as ‘referee’-A A +A
Thursday, September 5, 2013
NEGROS Occidental Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the Provincial Board is willing to act as “referee” among opposing local officials over certain issues.
Lacson made the statement Wednesday after officials of La Castellana town had finally agreed on Tuesday to sacrifice the budget for the second trance salary increases of municipal employees to pay for the tuition fees of town scholars.
This was after the provincial board meddled during a public hearing to settle the earlier disagreement among La Castellana officials over the municipal budget.
The Committee on Laws and Ordinances, chaired by Board Member Alain Gatuslao, conducted the hearing attended by both Mayor Alberto Nicor and Vice Mayor Felix Feria.
The two top officials of the town had clashed over the approval of the proposed P19.7 million 20 percent development fund (PDF) for 2013, which included the controversial P4 million scholarships program of the municipality.
The situation aggravated after 500 residents of La Castellana, including hundreds of municipal scholars, held a picket in front of the municipal hall last week, to protest the non-approval of the PDF, that included payment of their tuition fees.
La Castellana has 700 scholars while it has more than 100 regular employees who may not receive their second tranche of salary increases this year.
Gatuslao said there were lapses on the part of the Municipal Government, Provincial Board and the local finance committee, for failing to review thoroughly the development fund.
“We were able to see that there’s semblance of political stability,” he said after a compromise deal was reached.
He added that “the issue has been resolved already, although its end result remains to be seen.”
I hope the level of cooperation between the opposing parties will be the same when they go back to La Castellana, Gatuslao said.
The vice governor said that if other local government officials asks for the intervention of the Provincial Board, "then we will take it up."
When asked by media if the recent actions of the Provincial Council will mean that the body is the 'most dynamic', Lacson said he doesn't want to compare.
"I just would like this Provincial Council to be a working Provincial Board especially the committees," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 06, 2013.