MBTF vetoes ‘anti-poor’ of P864.91-M annual budget

By April 17, 2023Headlines


MAYOR Belen Fernandez submitted to the Sangguniang Panlungsod an eight-page partial veto of Ordinance No. 2257-2023 that allocated only P864.91million annual budget, far from the P1,3 billion that was proposed by her at 3:02 pm on April 13.

Specifically, line items she vetoed were:

  1. The reduction/and or deletion of Appropriation for Consultancy Services other Professional Service, Janitorial Services, other General Services, Environment/ Sanitary Services and security services, leaving no Job Order Employees that were fanned to all departments, offices and programs and projects of the Dagupan City government, severely affecting their operations.
  2. Deletion of budget allotted for consultancy’s services, other professional  services, janitorial services, and security services .
  3. The reduction of the scholarship grants to only  P107 million
  4. Zero allocation for allowances of Barangay Health Workers, Day Care Workers, Barangay Service Point Officers, Barangay Librarians and Barangay Security  Force.
  5. Deletion of confidential expenses under the City Mayor.
  6. Reduction of subsidy to national government agencies.
  7. Reduction of allocation under the City Library for information and communication.
  8. Reduction of fuel and lubricant expenses under the Mayor’s  Office.
  9. No development fund provided in the approved annual budget.

She said “we found a big difference of the totality between the total approved amount P864.91 million and the contents thereof of the submitted SP budget” amounting to P1.3 billion.

“In view of the above considerations, I am returning the approved Appropriation Ordinance No. 2257-2024 together with my partial veto to the Honorable Sanggunian for its  appropriate action,” Fernandez said.

Two days earlier,  April 11, she sent her veto message to the Annual Investment Program (AIP), including all its Integral Plans, for CY 2023.

Calling the amended AIP passed by Councilors Redford Erfe-Mejia, Celia Lim, Librada Reyna-Macalanda, Irene Lim-Acosta, Alfie Fernandez, Alvin Coquia and  Marilou Fernandez as “inhuman  and unjustified,” Fernandez said she had to return the approved AIP back to the Sanggunian without her signature.

After vetoing the Annual Investment Program (AIP) at the close of office hours on April 11, Mayor Fernandez went on live on Facebook to inform her constituents of her action and assured them that she will continue to fight so that the various services unlawfully deprived them by the seven-man majority in the Sangguniang Panlungsod will be restored.

The mayor minced no words when she faulted Erfe-Mejia, being the chairman of finance, for the chaos in the city that resulted from his lack of understanding of a simple elementary rule in budgeting.

She said the amended AIP and the scaled down annual budget were clearly intended to block progress and prosperity of Dagupan and will not help secure the future of the people and children of the city as “it will stop the services of the city to the poor, like medicines and scholarships.”

“They want to stop my Unliserbisyo”, she intoned.

She said Erfe-Mejia and his six committee members were out to make it appear that her administration failed to serve the city well and that she should be blamed for her failed programs.

Fortunately, the terminated JOEs offered to stay on in the city government and help as mere volunteers, she said.

The mayor also assured her constituents that she will fight for the restoration of the P46 million school board fund for the Department of Education for repair of school buildings, and for different programs and projects of school children.

She also cited the need to restore the 20 percent development fund that was cancelled out of ignorance of  Erfe-Mejia’s committee in computing the amount of National Tax Allotment due the city.

The mayor said the ignorance of the seven councilors in the majority became more evident when they deleted funds for the City Auditing Office, not realizing that the local government is mandated by law to provide funds and office space for the local COA operations.

“The seven majority councilors already abused their authority… and they can be sued for their abuses, mayroon at mayroon tayong taxpayers na magma-fie ng kaso. Ako nga, gusto ko nang mag-file. But we will see,” she warned. (Leonardo Micua)

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