TALISAY City’s Charter Day yesterday included fireworks, but the spoken kind provided by executive and legislative officials who argued about the slashing of the annual budget.
In the opening ceremonies of the 14th Charter Day celebration yesterday at City Hall, some members of the executive department criticized Talisay City Councilor Socrates Fernandez after he tried to answer allegations made by Talisay City Mayor Johnny De os Reyes.
Fernandez’s third straight term as mayor ended in 2013, and de los Reyes began to serve his term on June 30 that same year.
De los Reyes, in a separate interview, explained he was merely informing City Hall’s employees about how the council’s actions would affect the budget and the City’s operations.
During the Charter Day activities yesterday, Fernandez was given the opportunity to talk to City employees. The former mayor later said he was only informing the employees about Talisay’s 14-year journey to become a city.
But after Councilor Fernandez’s talk, Mayor de los Reyes, who was next in the program, started criticizing the councilors for slashing his proposed budget of P1 billion.
He accused the councilors of being anti-poor.
Fernandez, who rose to the City Council’s defense, said that while they did slash some appropriations in the proposed budget, the City still has a P190-million surplus that can be used for supplemental budgets.
“Dili gyud makaingon sila nga gilaslasan namo nga way rason. Nakatigum pa gani ang syudad sa among paglaslas (No one can accuse us of slashing the budget for no good reason. The City has even saved as a result of the cuts we made),” Fernandez added.
After Fernandez defended himself, Talisay City Executive Secretary Solomon Paypa came to de los Reyes’s defense and accused the councilors of lying to the public.
After the program, Fernandez was also approached by the mayor’s brothers, James and Joel, who allegedly accused him of mocking their sibling and his administration.
Talisay City Councilor Aldin Diaz came to Fernandez’s defense.
De los Reyes said he was merely “telling the truth” on how the City Council prevented the implementation of his programs and projects.
“Gisulti lang gyud nako sa katawhan ang tinuod. Dili ba sila ma-konsensya? (I just told the people the truth. Won’t they listen to their conscience?),” De los Reyes added.
He said that when the City Council reduced his intelligence funds, they removed something that could have helped the City’s anti-crime program.
De los Reyes said he uses part of his intelligence funds to give money to the poor as a way to deter crime.
“Ang akong IF is for peace and order. Tan-awa ang criminality kung dili nako gukdon.
Kung ang tao maipit gani sa problema, manulis na sila. Mao sa dili pa sila makahimo ug krimen, ako na lang silang gihatagan (My intelligence funds are for peace and order. A person who is desperate ends up robbing others. So before they can commit crimes, I give them some help to prevent illegal acts),” he said.
The conflict between de los Reyes and the City Council escalated last Friday, when the council passed the City’s annual budget but with major cuts.
From the proposed P1 billion sought by de los Reyes, the approved budget for 2015 is P539 million.