Rally set anew in La Castellana-A A +A
Monday, September 9, 2013
ANOTHER rally is set this week in La Castellana, Negros Occidental to press for the passage by local officials of the 20-percent development fund of the municipality.
Editha Tagun, in a radio interview Sunday, said that majority of their leaders still want the Municipal Council to pass the 20-percent development fund, including an allocation for the town's scholarship program, to make sure of the release of funds to the scholars.
Mayor Alberto Nicor and Vice Mayor Felix Feria had clashed over the approval of the proposed P19.7-million Development Fund 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 two weeks ago. The rallyists even barricaded the municipal councilors after their session.
This prompted the Provincial Board last week to call the officials of La Castellana town to the Provincial Capitol to discuss the matter, which eventually led to an agreement to sacrifice the budget for the second tranche salary increases of La Castellana municipal employees to pay the tuition of town scholars.
Affected by the issue were its 700 scholars and more than 100 regular employees.
Board Member Alain Gatuslao said he called up Nicor and Feria during the weekend on the result of their meeting last Friday.
"The parties agreed to allot P1.6 million for the first semester for the town's scholars and the implementation of the second tranche of the salary increase for their employees," Gatuslao said.
He added that the officials also agreed to realign the budget from other departments including that of the vice mayor and the Municipal Council.
"They will just have to find other sources to pay for the second semester obligations of their scholars," he said.
Gatuslao appealed to the residents of La Castellana to be "calm and not to be carried away by their emotions over the budget issue that divided them."
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 09, 2013.