Stand –off between Dagupan Mayor, dads damages city
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – Because this city’s legislative body would not approve this year’s annual budget of P768 million, 600 emergency workers and 500 scholars lost their jobs and privileges and more than one hundred million pesos goes to the drain.
Mayor Belen Fernandez said the inactionof the Sanguniang Panlungsod to pass the more than seven hundred million pesos city budget this year had obliged her to dismiss 600 workers and 500 scholars last Friday because of lack of budget.
“We are running now on a re-enacted (2015) budget,” the mayor told Northern Watch.
Reenacted budget according to the Local Government Code, is when the local government unit utilized the preceeding year appropriation and operate without the 20% development fund (DF) being utilized by the local government unit.
That would be P138, 200,000 lost if one deducts the 20% DF from last year’s budget of P691 million.
“Only the annual appropriations for salaries and wages of existing positions, statutory and contractual obligations, and essential operating expenses authorized in the annual and supplemental budgets for the preceding year shall be deemed re-enacted and disbursement of funds,” the Code says if this city fails to enact such ordinance after 90 days from the beginning of the fiscal year.
There would be P153 million DF here if the P768 million had been approved by the legislature.
She said the 31 villages would be deprived of P80 million projects she should be giving the barangay chairmen in case the councilors, many of whom came from her ticket in the 2013 election, approved the budget.
The mayor said P20 million will be lost, too, in the Bottoms Up Budget (BUB) from the Department of Local Government.
She cited that the city’s good financial housekeeping status will not be maintained, it may lose its chance to win this year the Seal of Good Governance (SGG) and the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) of P5 million.
“We got one month incentive because we have the Seal of Governance; we have the Good Financial Housekeeping. Itong ginagawa nila ngayon, paano magkaroon ng Seal of Good Governance kami . This has no support so ang incentive nila may go back”.
She said one of the reasons that sparked the stalemate with the city council was the P270 million overtime pay the councillors wanted her to pay for the overtime of their 13 employees.
The mayor said she paid them already P400, 000 last year.
She did not acquiesce to the P270 million demand out of fear that she would be charged of illegal disbursement of funds just like what happened to a municipal mayor in the country.
“Ako naman I want to be safe with the vice mayor. Kung pumayag akong basta basta tapos na iyang overtime saka ka mag appropriate, violation na iyan e. So sabi ko kanina kay Orly (a broadcaster), safe din naman si (Vice Mayor) Brian Lim hindi lang ako,” she said.
A source, who asked anonymity, told Northern Watch that the other beef of the councillors were of being deprived by Fernandez of the perks they enjoyed in the previous administration of Mayor Benjie S. Lim.
Many of these funds, the source cite, the legislative members use for their own projectsand to give to needy constituents.
“During the time of former Mayor Lim, the councilors were spoiled on the spoils,”the source said.
“Lahat iyan wala na ngayon sa Fernandez Administration kaya gutom ang mga councilors,” he said.
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