Editorial: Talisay City’s finances

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Thursday, May 1, 2014


IT'S no longer “happy days are here again” for the administration of Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes (JVR) after a Commission on Audit (COA) report found he wasn’t able to manage the city’s finances well in 2013.

Considering that handling of money is an important aspect of management, the COA reports speaks volumes of how de los Reyes is running City Hall. The conclusion one gets is not flattering to the mayor.

What is most disturbing in the COA report is the finding that Talisay City failed to remit not only the P8.4 million in taxes it deducted from its employees but also the deductions from employees’ salaries that should have been remitted to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Pag-ibig and Philhealth.

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That’s a basic obligation of employers to their employees even for those in the private sector. Failing to do that is unfair to the employees who will not be able to avail of the benefits due them. Again, that speaks volumes of how the City Hall is being run nowadays.

An official claimed that COA erred in saying the city failed to remit the mandatory contributions to national government agencies. But since no proof has been presented to support the claim, we have to rely on what was stated in the COA report.

Talisay City Administrator John Yre de los Reyes tried to wiggle out of the blame by claiming that some of the payables were inherited from the previous administration.

JVR took over as mayor in the middle of last year.

But former mayor Socrates Fernandez was correct in saying that it is always the responsibility of the successor to pay the payables of his predecessor—unless the payables are tainted with irregularities.

Meanwhile, the JVR administration has confirmed that it is starting to implement austerity measures. This is an admission that the COA finding is largely correct, especially on the city’s seemingly limitless hiring of job order employees.

Improving the handling of the city’s finances will not only test the managerial skills of de los Reyes but also his fairness. This early, even his political allies are worried that the austerity measure he is implementing will only be applied to other City Hall offices but not in the Office of the Mayor.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 02, 2014.

Opinion

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