LiFe councilors vote vs. lower boatmen’s fees
MAJORITY INVOKES OWN RULES
THE majority in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, all members of the LiFe group, rejected a proposed ordinance certified as urgent by the Mayor Belen Fernandez to reduce fees for motor boat operations from P1,100 to P650.
Minority Leader Councilor Jeslito Seen initiated the measure to help motor boat operators who were severely affected during the pandemic and to enable them to register separately with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to avail of insurance coverage.
The majority voted against the proposed ordinance despite the certification of the city mayor as urgent by invoking the internal rules it promulgated, rules that the minority branded as violative of the Local Government Code.
Seen said that since the proposed ordinance was certified as urgent by the city executive, the measure need not undergo hearings by the SP and for the latter to simply review the parameters of its urgency, citing the provision on the matter in the Local Government Code.
Registration of boats is required under the Motorized Fishing Registration System (Boat R) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Enrollment of Boats for Insurance Coverage by the PCIC.
A letter of Mayor Fernandez to the SP dated August 8, 2022 stated: “I am urgently requesting that Section 56 of Ordinance No. 1768-2003 be amended to give fisher folks of our beloved City the opportunity to legitimize their business. After a dialogue with the affected fishermen, they made an appeal for the reduction of payable fees to the City considering that we are still facing pandemic and to uplift them from their presence economic crisis.”
But the mayor’s letter was ignored by Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia who insisted on the provision of approved Internal Rules and Procedures of the SP that such a measure still needs further study, requiring the conduct of a public or committee hearings.
“How could we act in the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dagupan if we are following an illegal house rules that violates the Local Government Code?” Seen reacted.
The minority in the SP questioned the IRP crafted only by the majority members before the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The division in the chamber resulted in six votes (Councilors Erfe-Mejia, Librada Reyna, Alvin Coquia, Marilou Fernandez, Celia Lim and Irene Lim-Acosta. Councilor) against the ordinance versus five (Councilors Seen Michael Fernandez, Dennis Canto, Marcelino Fernandez and Joshua Bugayong) in favor.
Seen said that under the Local Government Code, the council could be cited for dereliction of duty if it disregards an ordinance proposed and certified as urgent by the executive. (Leonardo Micua)
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