City Hall: Councilor Elipe lies

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014


CITY Hall has accused Cagayan de Oro City Councilor President Elipe of “lying” for citing the failure of some departments to submit programs of work to have caused the delay of the 2014 budget deliberation.

City Information Officer Maricel Casiño-Rivera told Sun.Star that Elipe is using the excuse to delay, if not hinder, Mayor Oscar Moreno’s plans for the city.

When asked if the departments were able to submit the programs of work, Rivera maintained the departments have already submitted them, and added: “He (Elipe) is lying!”

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During the City Council’s session on January 6, Elipe insisted the council could not approve the budget because of the absence of the programs of work from some departments, like the committee on public works and urban poor.

But Rivera belied and claimed those offices have program of works that could have already been tackled by the council during the budget deliberations.

“Any questions they would like to ask to the departments are possible during budget deliberations,” Rivera said.

She said that every department or office has schedules to discuss the proposed budget for this year.

However, Rivera added that Emano’s political allies in the City Council halted the budget hearing even if the proposed budget of all departments were not yet deliberated.

Elipe chairs the committee on local finance. He is also the husband of fellow Councilor Nadya Emano-Elipe, who is the daughter of former mayor Vicente Emano.

Majority of the City Council members are members of PaDayon Pilipino, a local political party founded and chaired by Emano.

Political

With this, Rivera said the reason behind the delay is “political.”

“The political allies of former mayor Emano want to hostage the people because they feared the people would see that Moreno can perform better,” she said.

Rivera said there are a lot of projects that the present administration would like to pursue, however they are not included in the 2013 city budget.

If the proposed budget for 2014 will not be approved, Rivera said the budget for 2013 will be re-enacted, and this will not include vital projects that could help poor families in the city.

PhilHealth

Elipe, in a newspaper report, said the City Hall could continue serving PhilHealth coverage to families because the 2013 budget allocated P40 million for it.

However, the 2014 proposed budget intends to give insurance coverage to additional 50,000 individuals and renew the 50,000 members from the previous administration.

Elipe refuted the P200-million proposed budget, calling it “too much,” and the City Council has to scrutinize the new administration’s plan to add new members and renew membership.

He said that although the 2014 budget intends to enroll new members, P200 million is a huge amount for it.

However, Marlon Arrabaca, head of local health insurance office, said the rate per family amounts to P2,400 per year.

Arrabaca added that enrolling 100,000 individuals would cost the City Hall P240 million. “P240 million is just right. That is what the City Hall needs to avail (of) our premium.”

Arrabaca said that previously, the premium was pegged at P1,800, but on the first day of 2014, the premium increased to P2,400.

He added that the increase has been justified because the insurance coverage broadened -- there is a fix amount for all cases that covers almost all illness.

He said the PhilHealth members under the sponsored programs, like the indigents the City Hall has shouldered, do not have to pay anything on their hospital bills in public hospitals.

Affect scholars

Rivera said the city scholars will be affected if the proposed 2014 budget will not be approved.

She said the funds for the scholars were not covered by the 2013 budget because it was deemed illegal by the Commission on Audit (COA) since the former administration took the money from the Special Education Fund (SEF).

“COA said it was illegal to get the scholars’ fund from the SEF, so Mayor Moreno took it from the general fund to correct what the mistake of the previous administration,” she said.

Rivera added there are some Tropical Storm Sendong survivors who are not yet relocated because the 2013 budget did not cover their relocation.

She said if the proposed budget will not be approved, it is likely that these projects will not be implemented.

“So be it,” Elipe said, referring to the problems raised as the hindrance why the proposed 2014 budget might not be approved.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 08, 2014.

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