Dagupan on reenacted budget till end of year

By April 23, 2023Headlines


THE City of Dagupan and its people awaits with bated breath the review of the approved P864.91 million annual budget passed by the majority in the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) on March 28, by the regional office of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which was the subject of a line veto by Mayor Belen Fernandez last week.

Councilor and Minority Floor Leader Michael Fernandez told THE PUNCH that the DBM review will determine if the annual budget passed by a vote of 7-5 in the SP is in accordance with law, and if not, it will declare the same as inoperative.

The result of the review is expected this week because it is only the Dagupan City’s annual budget in the entire Region 1 that DBM has not reviewed.

However, the final draft of the annual budget partially vetoed by Mayor Fernandez remains in the hands of the majority, being finalized by its own committee secretary, not City Secretary Ryan Ravanzo.

Because of the partial veto of the mayor, the SP majority deferred approval of Ordinance No. 0-822 “rectifying and readdressing specific item in CY 2023 and Fiscal Year 2023 Local Expenditure Program of the City of Dagupan”.

The majority moved for the rectification due to alleged “inadvertent or clerical errors” in the preparation of the same, although according to the minority, they (majority councilors) just wanted to correct the omission of P16 million in one of the items in the approved annual budget of P864.91 million.

Minority Leader Fernandez said the line veto made by Mayor Fernandez resulted in restoring only some items in the approved budget. Among those not restored was the salary increase due the city government employees.

In the reenacted budget, there will be no  infrastructure projects that will be implemented by the Fernandez administration including any  infra project under the approved P864.91 million annual budget because its proposed P146 million development fund was deleted by the majority based on the latter’s wrong computation of the National Tax Allotment (NTA) due the city.

Meanwhile, the job order employees (JOEs) lost their jobs initially, can already breathe easy because the reenacted budget of 2022 of P1.3 billion allocated ample appropriations for their wages.

The frontliners in the city will also continue to receive their allowances with the reenacted budget in effect after appropriations for their benefits were slashed by the majority councilors.

In the reenacted budget, the Commission on Audit can also take back the funds allotted to it by the city for its MOOE  or rendering auditing services to Dagupan that was also unduly slashed by the SP majority, Fernandez.

It is only Dagupan in the entire Region 1 and the whole Philippines that is using a reenacted budget, a classic case that ought to be investigated by DILG, said Fernandez.

The mayor said since the majority passed a “new” AIP, restoring the P2.188 billion proposed by Mayor Fernandez, the City Schools Division can use the Special Education Fund of P46 million, which was slashed in the reduced AIP.

Mayor Fernandez said she will not take the matter sitting down and vowed to get back at the councilors who threw a monkey wrench into all the program and projects of Dagupan.

She reiterated there were several violations of laws that were committed in the passage of a watered down AIP and Annual Budget and the officials who did this cannot escape responsibility, hinting a court case is now underway against members of the SP majority. (Leonardo Micua)

Share your Comments or Reactions


Powered by Facebook Comments