Acenas to Moreno: ‘Why fear the city council?”

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Friday, February 7, 2014


“WHY fear the City Council,” asked Cagayan de Oro City Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas to the Moreno administration.

The question stemmed from City Hall projects that didn’t go through the City Council.

Acenas reminded the executive office that based on the Local Government Code all the contracts and projects entered into by the City Government should go through the City Council.

READ: Moreno tags City Council approved budget straightjacket

He emphasized that in the spirit of transparency, the projects, whether in lumped sum or itemized, they should go through discussions and approval by the City Council.

The members of the majority bloc felt bypassed with the ongoing projects that Mayor Oscar Moreno implemented since he took office in July 2013.

“It is inevitable that we scrutinize the projects of the administration. It is our job. We are the keeper of the purse,” councilor President Elipe said during the press conference on the budget cut controversy at the Session Hall Thursday, February 6, following the negative reactions the City Council has been getting since it approved the 2014 Executive Budget on Monday, February 3.

Acenas further asked: “If there’s nothing that the administration is afraid of, why fear the City Council?” He cited the renovation of the executive house, landscaping of the city hall frontage and Duaw Park and among others that have been implemented without the approval of the City Council.

In Section 322 of Republic Act No. 7160 (RA 7160), it states that: “Unexpected balances of appropriation authorized in the annual appropriation ordinance shall revert to the un-appropriated surplus of the general fund at the end of the fiscal year and shall not thereafter be available for expenditure except by subsequent enactment.”

Acenas explained that the funds used for the said projects were taken from the 2013 Executive Budget.

City councilor Ramon Tabor added that the present administration’s P79-million worth of projects is almost completed. “They have been implemented without the knowledge of the City Council.”

Thus, the Council created a resolution requesting the Commission on Audit in Northern Mindanao (COA) to look into and verify the procurement and see if the supporting documents of the projects are complete and in order.

In a letter by COA, Moreno was required to submit the proof of compliance with the rules mentioned in RA 7160.

‘Inutile’ budget

Moreno on Tuesday accused the majority bloc in the City Council of approving a budget that would render the City Government “inutile.”

Moreno added the approved budget hinders the implementation of the programs under his leadership.

The budget allots only P60 million for the PhilHealth enrollees which could only cover 25,000 beneficiaries, against the proposed 100,000 beneficiaries that Moreno proposed.

City councilor Teodulfo Lao added that the majority bloc intends to control the chief executive.

Like Lao, city councilor Enrico Salcedo feared that the majority of the legislators would use their power to block the projects beneficial for the residents and taxpayers of the city.

City councilor Teodulfo Lao, asked Tuesday: “What if the city council will not approve the projects?”

‘Keep us informed’

“We are not crazy not to support the projects of the administration. But we should be informed. Keep us informed,” said Tabor.

With regard to the allocation of the approved budget in lump sum, Tabor said that those projects have no program of work and they do not know yet where the funds will be used.

He said the funds in lump sum would be allocated to the projects upon request.

City councilor President Elipe said most of the special projects worth P1.2 billion were itemized in the approved budget.

Elipe said P993 million of the special projects were itemized, even an item worth P197 million has no programs of work are also included.

He said that only P219 million for the special projects are in lump sum.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 07, 2014.

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