THE City Council during Monday’s regular session overrides the veto of Mayor Mauricio Domogan with regards to the Annual Budget of the City of Baguio for Calendar Year 2017.

The Local Chief Executive did not sign Appropriations Ordinance Numbered 72, Series of 2016 on the ground that it apparently is not in accordance with existing budgeting, accounting and auditing laws, rules and regulations. The mayor specifically cited the expenses for garbage hauling and tipping fees amounting to P75 million under the General Services Office (GSO).

The council during the budget deliberation last December 29, 2016 reduced the amount for Environment/Sanitary services account in the office of the GSO for the purpose of having all contracts for garbage hauling and tipping to be submitted to the City Council for confirmation. In his veto letter, the office of the City Mayor quoted Annex B of Commission on Audit Circular No. 2015-009 dated December 01, 2015 entitled “Prescribing the Revised Chart of Accounts for Local Government Units that the Account Title of Environment/Sanitary Services with Account Code 5-02-12-010” which states that “This account is used to record the cost of services contracted/undertaken by administration for the upkeep and sanitation of the public places. This includes the cost of clean and clean program, garbage and hospital waste collection and disposal”.

The veto further quantified that garbage hauling is a regular service provided by the City Government of Baguio. The fact that the council have already authorized the expenditure specifically for garbage hauling and tipping fees in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, it is a matter of course for the executive department thru the GSO to implement the program, projects and activities as programmed and that further authorization by the sanggunian is not required for appropriations with specific purpose as decided in the case of Quisimbing vs. Garcia, G.R. No. 175527. But the council stood firm and approved the Committee Report of Committee on Laws Chairman Councilor Faustino Olowan to override the said veto. Olowan specified that what is of importance is the rationale behind the action of the council reducing the amount for Environment/Sanitary Services account in the Office of the GSO. The legislative intent is to have all contracts for garbage hauling and tipping to be submitted to the council for confirmation. He added that removing a portion of the said account is an indication that the council did not fully authorize the expenditure specifically for garbage and tipping fees and what was authorize was only the amount as appearing in the budget. With the override, the ordinance will still retain the provisions that all garbage hauling and tipping fees be subjected to contracts and the same be submitted to the City Council for confirmation and all contracts entered into by the City Mayor in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos and above shall also pass by the council for confirmation. Olowan stressed that the said provisions will be for transparency in approving agreements.

All members present voted in favor of the override except for Councilors Elaine Sembrano and Edgar Avila who were out during the voting and Councilor Roberto Ortega who has a prior commitment and wasn’t able to attend the regular session.