Ex-mayor: City is not bankrupt-A A +A
Monday, August 19, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – "When I left the office on June 30, it is very clear, there were P447 million left in the coffers of the City. I did not leave a bankrupt local government unit."
Thus, emphasized former City of San Fernando mayor and now Third District Representative Oscar Rodriguez, as he dismissed rumors and allegations that he left City Hall bankrupt and its coffers empty.
The city's financial status is currently the subject of an inquiry by the City Council committee on good government, ethics and public accountability chaired by Councilor Lito Ocampo.
In a breakfast press conference, Rodriguez, who currently chairs the House of Representatives' committee on good government and public accountability, said, "Immediately after I left City Hall, repeated rumors emanated from City Hall officials that the City is bankrupt and that I, as former Mayor, emptied the coffers of the city or 'gisan neng Mayor Oca ding pera.'"
"While at the backdrop, City Government employees/workers were being advised of their termination, either due to end of contract/end of program and/or alleged lack of funds. These rumors spread like wildfire even after the incumbent Mayor assured me that those rumors did not emanate from him. I kept silent, believing that the records would be used as reference if responsible officials and members of media would pursue the issue," he added.
At first, he furthered, he shrugged off the allegations until close associates repeatedly him about the rumor, to the point he nearly begged off from an invitation to speak before the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation on the topic "Principled Good Governance" for fear that somebody might ask about the issue, when he is known even in the international circle for his good governance advocacies and transparent practices.
"I only realized the magnitude of the negative effect of this rumor when even friends from different groups kept alleging that there were no funds left, referring as source, City Hall itself. Worse, a member of the media, whom I consider a very responsible person, accepted as gospel truth, the said allegations and made innuendos and sarcastic statements, even belittling the gains the City has achieved during my term," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez disclosed that the city could not have been bankrupt, considering income realized, income yet to be realized, plus Internal Revenue Allotments, which totals to some P1 billion.
"I have repeatedly asserted that the city could not been bankrupt. The realized income from the first six months of 2013, that is from January to June is P597,822,351.37," he said.
He added the depository bank of the City, which is LandBank of the Philippines, a certified statement showing, as of June 30, a total deposit of P447,110,363.32 not yet including income realized and to be realized for July to December 2013.
"I have repeatedly mentioned, and religiously adhered to, that I implemented programs only upon assurances from the Treasurer and the Budget Officer/or the Finance Committee that funds were available, with appropriations, according to its AIP (Annual Investment Plan) and thus, implementable," he stressed.
Not at the expense of basic services
Rodriguez stated that foremost is the delivery of basic services, which should not be hindered by prioritizing savings, noting that he---as far as he knows--is the only mayor who left a local government unit with a lot of savings.
"Of course, I also do not believe in savings at the expense of the programs on the basic social services seriously needed by our people, particularly the less fortunate. My advocacy for performance-based governance is fundamental in my precept in governance and leadership. Therefore, I am not afraid in a situation where no savings have been realized for as long as basic social services programs are delivered in the process," he said.
Honor, truth and justice
Rodriguez remarked that he will protect his honor which he has kept ever since as a public servant and seek for fairness and justice.
"I do not expect to be thanked for what I did to the City, as it was my obligation to implement the necessary improvements, to make a difference. But as a human being, I expect people to be fair and have a little sense of justice," he said.
"These people who repeatedly picture the City in that desolate situation and in the process, maligning me, may not realize that they are damaging the gains the City has achieved. Lest the Goebbels method misleads highly impressionable but concerned and responsible citizens of the City and the province, I have to put the record straight," said Rodriguez, adding "whatever their motive is," is not important to him.
Meanwhile, Councilor Ocampo told Sun.Star Pampanga that he is set to discuss the official report of the committee in this week's session of the City Council.
"It will be better if we base our statements on the official report of the committee to the City Council. For one, I nor any member of the committee talked about or even mentioned the word bankruptcy. On a personal view, may pera ang city. But again, it will be better if we base the concerns per the official report rather than just interviews," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 20, 2013.