Ex-Mayor Belen leaves P1 billion cash in city coffer

WHEN Mayor Belen Fernandez stepped down from city hall last June 30, she left P1 billion in cash at the city coffers. 

This was confirmed by City Treasurer Romelita Alcantara, adding that the amount included the Special Education Fund (SEF) and calamity fund. 

“Actually, I left not only P1 billion in cash but also millions of pesos worth of projects, many of which were already completed and others are still ongoing,” Fernandez told newsmen.

She asked the new administration to continue with the unfinished projects whose completion will greatly benefit the people of Dagupan.  

The P1 billion cash she left in the city’s coffers showed how robust the economy of Dagupan has become over a six-year period after she took over the reins of the city government in 2013, in contrast to the negative P37-million budget she inherited from the previous city administration which at the same time also had arrears in electric, telephone and water bills.     

Today, Dagupan is considered the richest city in Region 1. Its annual budget for 2019 reached P1.010 billion, the highest ever in the history of the city. 

She expressed hope that the new administration of Mayor Brian Lim will continue to enhance the finances of Dagupan so more program and projects could be undertaken.   

The documents pertaining to the present fiscal position of the city were parts of the voluminous documents turned over by Fernandez on June 30 to the representatives of Mayor Brian Lim.

Lim did not attend the turnover ceremony at the Dagupan City Tourism Office but he sent former Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia and Maximo Alexis to represent him. 

At the same time, Fernandez denied that there were “midnight” projects undertaken by her administration, saying that all projects underwent through the process, like public bidding and awarding.

The new projects were also endorsed and approved during consultations with the City Development Council and the Dagupan People’s Organizations.

Outgoing City Administrator Farah Decano denied Erfe-Mejia’s other allegation that there were government properties removed the night before June 30. She said these were plates that she personally owns that had to be removed to clear her office in preparation for the new administration’s takeover. (Leonardo Micua)       

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