XU-GLI on Oro budget snag: 'An issue of trust'

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Saturday, January 11, 2014


TO hasten the deliberation and approval of the Executive Budget for this year, both the city’s legislative and executive branches must set aside politics and foster trust, said Dr. Dixon Yasay of Xavier University-Governance and Leadership Institute (XU-GLI).

"Trust is a big ‘question mark’ between the City Council and the city mayor but it should not hamper the advancement of the people’s interest. They do not come from the same political party that is why there is (an issue) of trust," Yasay said.

Majority of the city councilors are affiliated with Padayon Pilipino, a local political party founded and chaired by former mayor Vicente Emano, while Mayor Oscar Moreno and five of the legislators belong to the Liberal Party.

Yasay said it is the role of the opposition to scrutinize, but it has to be checked if it cannot derail the process.

“One has to build that trust. Even in the national level it is the same thing,” Yasay said.

He said that when both branches (executive and legislative) come from the same political party, the scrutiny will be lesser because they trust each other.

“But when there is the ‘other guy’ in the office, it’s different and that is part of the democratic process,” said Yasay, adding that gaining the trust of the other is ‘easier said than done.’

Community involvement

But, Yasay said, the community should get involved to patch up the seeming conflict between the majority members of the legislative branch and the mayor that caused the delay in the deliberation of the city’s Executive Budget as the delay puts the development of the city at stake.

“If there is a deadlock between the two conflicting parties, the community should get involved because it is the public who will be affected by this,” Yasay said.

He added that the role of the community is to push the legislators and the city mayor to come up with the best solution.

“We should not leave this to the executive and the legislative. Everybody must be engaged,” Yasay said.

Yasay added some local government units failed to use the people’s money for projects because of conflicts between officials.

He added that if either party would not reach out to each other, nothing will happen if the community won't get involved.

“You cannot touch the money without the appropriation ordinance,” Yasay said citing that it is the role of the executive to prepare the budget that the city council will authorize.

He added that the projects will not be implemented because every peso should be authorized by the City Council.

If the budget will not be spent on projects for development, Yasay said, “Sayang ang atong resources for this year.”

Internal challenge

“For me, there is a need for Mayor Moreno to show his leadership—perhaps by reaching out to them individually,” said Lorelyn Dumaug, District I chairman of Centrist Democratic Movement (CDP).

Dumaug added that reaching out to city councilors is important because the city will suffer if he does not.

She added that the mayor should be ‘savvy’ in making the city council understand about his plans.

“The mayor should convince the city council through reasons that includes the opposition councilors,” Dumaug said.

In October last year, Moreno presented the 2014 executive budget to the city council where he expressed the need for the executive and the legislative branches to work together for the welfare of the communities.

‘Give chance’

Yasay added that the challenge is on the chief executive and that he should sit down with the city council members.

He said if both parties will only attack each other, ‘nothing will happen.’

“They should do extra efforts like talking things over,” said Yasay.
Yasay added that it will also depend on the openness of the members of the city council in accepting such endeavor.

“I would say that the present administration should be given a chance to implement its programs,” said Dumaug adding that the conflict should be ended as soon as possible because they cannot go forward without solving it.

If the 2013 Executive Budget will be reenacted and used for the year, Dumaug said it may not be relevant anymore because there are new problems and issues that need resolutions.

“New issues and problems need to be answered with the new programs,” said Dumaug.

Dumaug thinks that if Moreno can present to the legislators the necessity of his proposals then he can convince the City Council.

“They should see to it that the common good of the people are served rather than divided because of their different political interests,” said Dumaug.

Dumaug said the leaders in Cagayan de Oro must work together because there are a lot of potential investments nowadays.

However, she added that the protection of our environment should always be considered when pursuing development.

Spirit of democracy

“The political dynamic here is alive and that is the spirit of democracy,” said Yasay adding that arguments are being raised as a practice of democracy.

He added that it will be a more democratic process if the community is engaged.

Yasay said the current conflict would even check the structure of the local government code—its loopholes will be magnified if there are any.

“The structure has its own limitations,” said Yasay adding that the functions of the executive and legislative were clarified.

Program of work

Yasay said the budget deliberation will be hastened if the City Council will convene as a whole to discuss.

“The problem is that you won’t have time for technical study on the proposals,” he said.

He said the nitty-gritty part on discussing the proposed budget should be on the committees.

“Insakto nga dapat moagi sa committee… Nganong wala moagi sa committee before? Again it’s an issue of trust,” said Yasay.

The city council in December last year stopped the budget deliberation and urged the committees to go into the details.

Yasay added that it is just right to ask for the program of work.
“The mayor will prepare and the city council will authorize. If you are going to authorize logic would tell that you are going to the details,” said Yasay.

'Not an encroachment'

He said that demanding for the program of work is not an encroachment because the legislative just wants to see where every peso would go.
“Every peso has to be appropriated,” he said adding that the time element of this process should be considered.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 11, 2014.

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