Clash of personalities in a budget hearing

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By Benjie R. Pangan

At Close Range

Monday, December 16, 2013


BUDGET hearings are an occasion wherein local legislators find an appropriate venue and time to grill the proponents. Thus it happened that one Friday morning, I saw myself at the receiving end of a barrage of questions from the Honorable Rox Peña who came at the hearing prepared.

I, too, anticipated probing questions from the outspoken councilor who is proficient in figures (he being a licensed engineer) and who occupies a very lofty position in Tipco.

The programs, projects and activities of Peso were under scrutiny, first the skills training livelihood programs and the controversial Special Program for the Employment of Students which, year after year, has its shares of problems such as non-payment of salaries of some students. I explained that due to the intervention of Jun Magbalot, who put a quota on the number of students to be enrolled in the program plus the certifications of punong barangays, that is why confusion reigned in the handling of the 60 percent category of SPES. Anyway, Vice Mayor Christian C. Halili was amendable to the suggestion that a voucher was prepared awaiting the blessing of Jun Magbalot who is the city internal control head.

Councilor Amauri "Bok" Tiglao sauntered on the probable Tesda-financed skills training and he suggested that we meet with Tesda directors Ted Gatchalian and Ben-Hur Baniqued.

The matter of a training center was brought up and it was agreed that it is important in the training of able individuals of the city.

Councilor Dwight Morales cited the proficiency of Peso in finding jobs for applicants and made more encouraging remarks about the coordinator's role.

Councilor Carlo Niño Rivera asked that the Sangguniang Panlungsod be furnished lists of trainees and the corresponding costs of each training to which the coordinator replied that Peso be given two weeks to comply.

After some questions from Councilor Rogelio Yumul and Vice Mayor Christian C. Halili the grilling came to a close.

Some departments presented their budget proposals later and the grilling continued.

The clash of personalities continued into the day until all departments' budgets have undergone scrutiny. The city budget officer played an important role in the budget hearing especially on questions of technical consequence on the budget.

The approved budgets will later come to scrutiny of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

--oo0oo--

There are reports that many jobs await Filipino job seekers in Japan like teachers, nurses caregivers, welders, etc. The only problem is that the applicants must undergo Nihongo classes which reportedly are tough to pass. Well...

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 16, 2013.

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