“It’s your duty to pass the annual budget” – DILG

By January 15, 2023Inside News


THE Dagupan Sangguniang Panlungsod was directed to submit a report under oath to the provincial office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, to explain why it failed to act on the budget last December 31, 2022 despite repeated reminders.

This was stressed by DILG Provincial Director Virgilio Sison, in a dialogue on January 10 with Dagupan SP citing the DILG Memorandum Circular (No. 2022-004) even as he offered help from his office to expedite the approval of the 2023 budget.

He reminded the city councilors that the passage of the annual budget “is your primary duty under the law.”

Sison said that since the budget was not passed on December 31, 2022, no other matter can be discussed in the chamber except the budget until after it is passed based on the provision of Section 323 of the Local Government Code.

“It is your duty under the law to pass the budget and since you were not be able to finish it, you have until March to do it,” Sison stressed.

“Based on the memorandum of our secretary last year, and as part of monitoring the status/compliance of local government units to the implementation of laws, especially the approval of the budget, you are required to submit a report under oath,” Sison emphasized, and cited DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2022-004 that stated in part: “Of recent, complaints have reached the Department that there are local sanggunians that whimsically, capriciously and arbitrarily use their legislative authorization power under Section 319 of RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC) in the enactment of the local government unit’s annual budget resulting to re-enacted budgets.”

Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia tried to impress the DILG officials that the majority was not negligent, he said his committee on finance, budget and appropriations met in November and in December to discuss the budget but it did not get a positive response because the process requires public hearings with departments, not committee meetings.

In response to the question of Councilor Alvin Coquia, a member of the majority, whether a crime is committed if the annual budget is not passed, Sison said the violation may not be criminal in nature but hinted of an administrative case of dereliction of duty can be filed against the councilors.

Because Dagupan is the only local government unit in Region 1 that still does not have an  approved annual budget, Sison reiterated his offer for his office to assist and show how it can pass the measure at the soonest possible time.

The initial committee hearings on the budgets inviting chiefs of departments were set on January, 10, January 17 and January 24. (Leonardo Micua)

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