Moreno blamed for delayed city budget deliberation-A A +A
Thursday, January 9, 2014
CAGAYAN de Oro City Councilor President Elipe blamed Mayor Oscar Moreno for the delayed deliberation of the proposed budget for 2014.
Elipe said that the deliberation has lagged because some departments and committees lack the program of work (POW) that is mandated by the General Appropriation Act (GAA).
“If the budget deliberation is delayed, the mayor should be blamed on this,” said Elipe adding that it is his command responsibility as the chief executive to urge the department heads to submit their respective POW before the City Council.
Elipe challenged Moreno to employ disciplinary actions to those department or committee heads who failed to submit a POW.
Elipe reiterated that the department in-charge of social services did not submit a POW to the City Council.
“Even Eric Salcedo admitted on air that the people in-charge on social services did not submit their POW to the city council,” Elipe said.
However, the city’s information officer, Maricel Casiño-Rivera cited the Local Government Code as stated “the insistence of the Sangguniang Panglunsod (City Government) for the submission of the program of work is an encroachment to the executive power of the mayor.”
Rivera said: “The law does not require that the proposed executive budget must already contain the program of work.”
She added: “the simple reason that the program of work pertains already to the details of operationalization of the budget which, incidentally, is lodged by the local government code solely to the mayor per section 320.”
“I don’t know about my colleagues but I will never vote for a program that has no program of work,” Elipe said.
Elipe added that even Moreno submitted a program of work for his sports development program worth P15 million.
He said the POWs should have been submitted in November along with other documents including the annual investment plan for 2014.
Meanwhile, Rivera said the insistence of the City Council for the submission of the POWs is an encroachment to the executive power of the city mayor.
She added that according to section 319 of the local government code, the authority of the City Council regarding the proposed budget for 2014 is limited to the legislative authorization of such.
“It is contrary to law and the separation of powers,” said Rivera citing sections 318, 319 and 320 from the local government code.
Rivera said the City Council’s deliberation of the proposed 2014 budget was halted December 5 last year.
“During the budget deliberation for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), it was halted,” said Rivera.
She said the DILG budget was the last that the council deliberated before it referred the discussions on the proposed budgets to their respective committees.
Rivera added the departments that are scheduled for deliberation in the city council have POWs although the latter are unnecessary.
Officer-in-charge of City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), Teodoro Sabugaa, said his office has a POW.
He added that they presented their program of works because they wanted to cooperate so the proposed budget for 2014 will be approved.
If the schedule was followed without referring the discussions back to the committees, Rivera said Elipe would not be telling the things he is saying recently.
But Elipe said the discussions on the proposed budget should be referred back to the committees to hasten the process.
Elipe said the committees will discuss and review their programs and suggest the results during the budget deliberation of the City Council.
“The committees know best on reviewing the programs on their departments,” Elipe said.
Elipe furthered it is best to submit the POWs early so he can study them and raise appropriate questions during deliberation.
He said he cannot “cram” on studying the POWs because it involves millions.
Apart from that, Elipe furthered it is important to know where the people’s money should be spent by the local government this year.
Meanwhile, Sabugaa said the funds for a project will not be disbursed without the program of work.
He said that reading the Local Ordinance No 12482-2012 Section 7: “Policies on Lump sum Allocations and on Fund Reversions.—(a) All lump sum appropriations in the 2013 Annual Budget shall be disbursed upon the approval of the Program of Work by the city mayor.”
He added that based on the ordinance the discussion on the POWs should not be included in the deliberation of the City Council.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 09, 2014.