Oro council approves slashed P2.3-B investment plan

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


AFTER many months of deliberating the annual investment plan for approval, the city council approved on Monday’s session the AIP budget but not without slashing P1.9 billion from the proposed P3.3 billion.

The city’s AIP, formulated by the City Development Council (CDC), for this year has been reduced to P2.3 billion.

Only three city councilors—minority members Teodulfo Lao, Lourdes Candy Darimbang and Zaldy Ocon—opposed the ordinance approving the AIP, while co-minority, Enrico Salcedo abstained.

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The AIP is a budget for 2014 in which programs and projects proposed are listed with their corresponding estimated budget.

CDC, as part of the executive branch headed by Mayor Oscar Moreno, is tasked to draft the AIP, which is subject for approval or disapproval by the city’s legislators.

AIP’s backstory

Prior to that, the proposed budget was at P4.4 billion last December 2013. The city council disapproved it at first reading thinking the proposed budget had excessive program inclusions which are not necessary, councilor Alden Bacal who chairs the committee on public works which is one of the committee sponsors said.

“We did not approve it because it has so many unnecessary programs included in the budget proposal. Of course, we, from the city council, will not tolerate such. So we returned to them (CDC) their proposal,” Bacal said Tuesday.

He further explained the CDC did not budge and stick to their P4.4 billion proposal.

“We gave them the proposal back; they gave us back their original proposal. We told them not to include unnecessary projects, they were still adamant. We returned it to them because the approved budget was only P2.3 billion. Sige na lang mi nagbalik-balik. We got tired so we aligned and sorted some programs that are important and those that are not,” he said.

City Information Officer Maricel Casiño-Rivera, however, denied the CDC cut the budget that now amounted to P3.3 billion prior to the approved budget last Monday.

“That is not true. The real issue here is that they did modifications without returning the proposal to the CDC,” Rivera said.

AIP’s modifications

Rivera questioned the role of the city council approving the current P2.3 billion why modifications were made in the AIP.

“They [city council] have every right to approve or disapprove. However, why were there modifications in the AIP without consulting the CDC?” she said.

Bacal insisted they did not modify the proposal but cut some programs with their corresponding budgets that the city council saw as unnecessary.

“No. We did not modify. We just approved. But how do you approve? You deliberate, you have to correct and not modify because we never add. The role of the city council is to cut. Amo lang gikuwangan aron mu-plastar ug gipasigo siya sa kung unsay available budget lang,” he said.

Rivera said that even by cutting, there is already a modification in the process.

“Cutting is also modifying,” she said and showed a letter stating a similar issue in Iloilo City where the director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), lawyer Jesus B. Doque IV, replied to the mayor of the prime function of the legislative and executive branches of government.

“Doque responded to the mayor stating that ‘such authority does not include the power to modify, alter or revise the same, albeit, the Sangguniang Bayan is not precluded from raising questions thereon for purposes of clarification’,” she said.

AIP’s possible outcome

Rivera also explained the city is now worrying that the slashed P1.9 billion would mean there will be other projects that will not be implemented because of the limited funds due to the reduction.

“Now that we have only P2.3 billion, some of our projects will not be implemented anymore,” she said explaining the importance of the AIP in the city government.

According to the Local Government Code of 1991, AIP will be funded by the prime funds coming from the Internal Revenue Allotment and the local revenues collected from taxpayers.

The national government will also fund the projects through its agencies.
Moreover, the city can also have grants and loans if other projects are to be implemented outside from the city’s budget.

Projects not listed in the AIP will not be funded by potential funders.
But Bacal has maintained the city council’s stand on the reduced P2.3 billion budget the council approved.

“Ang ingon sa DBM (Department of Budget and Management) na isigo lang ninyo ang AIP with special projects for the current administration didto sa budget na inyong [City Council] gi-aprubahan. Kung moingon ka ug P4.4 billion ang imong AIP, asa man intawon na nimo kuhaon ang difference na P2.1 billion?” he said and reiterated, “That is why we only approved the P2.3 billion for the AIP cutting some unnecessary programs.”
Rivera however only sees this as politicking.

“The only intention here of the majority bloc is to ‘strait-jacket’ the mayor. They do not want him to perform and bisag unsa na lang ilang buhaton basta lang dili matuman ang programa ni mayor Moreno. The bottom line here is that – this is politics. In the meantime, ang gaka-apektuhan are the people because we have so many things that the mayor wants to do but are hindered by the majority bloc of the city council,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 23, 2014.

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