Council lags on Oro 2014 budget deliberation

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Monday, January 6, 2014

IT IS already January but the Cagayan de Oro City Council is still deliberating on the 2014 proposed budget of P2.6 billion.

Thus, Councilor Zaldy Ocon walked out of the City Council’s regular session Monday over what he considered a “bogus” discussion.

“I cannot afford to participate in this bogus discussion,” said Ocon before he left the session hall.


He accused the City Council of failing to follow the law.

“Amid the presence of two lawyers here (City Council), but they seem to be ignorant with the law,” said Ocon.

Citing section 4 of the Local Government Code, Ocon said “failure to act (on) annual budget, the City Council cannot tackle any business.”

He added that the council should not tackle any agenda if they are not done yet with the annual budget.

Before Ocon, Councilor Roger Abaday told the body in session that he would not “participate actively” in the session.

Abaday is afraid he would be included in the “recall” for the “ignorance” of the law.

“I will put on record that I will not participate actively in this session,” said Abaday, who then returned to his seat and remained there until the session ended.

Councilor Candy Darimbang did not also participate in the session along with the other members of the minority who were present.

In a special report, Councilor President Elipe presented the basis on why the approval of the proposed budget for 2014 is lagging.

No program of work

He said, while displaying the proposal of Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, that he could not approve the mayor’s proposal because it has no “program of work.”

Elipe elaborated that the committee on police, fire and public safety has “five projects without program of work.”

The committee on youth and all its proposed projects have only one program of work, while the committee on education has four projects that also have no programs of work, he added.

Worst, the committee on public works that covers the city engineering, and the committee on urban poor also have no programs of work.

Elipe said the problem should be blamed on the departments for not submitting complete program of works as ordered by the city mayor.

He cited that some of the departments have submitted their program of work, while some did not.

If the problems raised will be the reason why the proposed budget will not be approved, Elipe said: “So be it!”

Scholars and PhilHealth beneficiaries

Meanwhile, Ocon urged students, especially the scholars under the City Hall, to “rally” to hasten the approval of the P2.6-billion budget proposed by the Moreno administration for 2014.

Ocon said 600 city scholars will be affected if the budget for the 2014 will not be approved.

“I fear for the scholarship of 600 students that will end this June, and they cannot proceed,” Ocon said.

He added that these students have been scholars even before Moreno’s administration.

During the flag raising ceremony on Monday morning, Moreno said the P2.6-billion budget proposal is a 17 percent increment from the 2013 budget that is P2.2 billion.

Moreno cited that other cities with the same standing as Cagayan de Oro have annual budget that would reach P5 billion to 10 billion.

He said if the proposed budget for 2014 will be approved by the council, an additional 50,000 individuals will be enrolled in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), while the present 50,000 will be renewed.

Budget ‘approval’ blurry

But Ocon opined that the budget’s approval is “blurry,” adding “it is already January and the city has a lot of projects that need funding.”

Elipe said the council has finished deliberating only six proposals out of 46.

He said the minority members of the council boycotted the invite to an executive meeting that will discuss a scheme to hasten the procedure of deliberating the budget.

He proposed that the committee heads should discuss the nature of the project while the council will discuss only about the money intended for the project.

With regard the accusations that the approval of the budget involves politics, Elipe said: “If the council is not interested in approving the proposed budget, they would not have conducted a review on the proposal.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 07, 2014.

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