SP majority rejects plenary hearings on 2023 budget

By January 22, 2023Top Stories

THE proposal to schedule the hearing and discussions on the Proposed Ordinance No. 818 seeking to enact the proposed Annual Budget of Dagupan for Fiscal Year 2023 in plenary was rejected by the majority members of the Dagupan sanggunian during its regular session last January 17.

By a vote of 6-5, the majority in the SP defeated the motion of Councilor and Minority Floor Leader Michael Fernandez to calendar Proposed Ordinance No. 818 on second reading to the plenary to enable all councilors to participate and given all voting rights, and to hold marathon hearings in open sessions till it is passed.

The councilors who rejected the motion were Councilors Librada Reyna-Macalanda, Alvin Coquia, Marilou Fernandez, Redford Erfe-Mejia, Celia Lim and Victoria Lim-Acosta. Councilor Alipio Fernandez was absent.

To date, the hearings on the proposed ordinance are being conducted by the Committee on Finance, Budget and Appropriation whose members are the seven majority councilors with the inclusion of only the minority floor member with no voting rights.

Fernandez said Proposed Ordinance 818, which he authored, was submitted to the committee as early as October last year but it only scheduled the committee hearings on January 10, 2023 by inviting department heads, including Mayor Belen Fernandez, as resource speakers.
His motion was supported by his fellow minority Councilors Jeslito Seen, Dennis Canto, Marcelino Fernandez and Joshua Bugayong.

Councilor Coquia argued that bringing the budget hearing to the plenary will only prolong action on the proposed annual budget since the committee already started its committee hearings.
However, Councilor Erfe-Mejia reported that no department head, including Mayor Fernandez, attended the January 10 committee hearing, and instructed the city secretary to re-schedule the hearings again.

Erfe-Mejia said that Councilor Dennis Canto was invited in  the January 17 committee hearing.
City Secretary Ryan Ravanzo said he transmitted the invitations to the department heads, signed by committee chairman, to all concerned department heads, including the city mayor, on January 6 and duly received by their respective offices on the same day.

Councilor Marilou Fernandez called on department heads to attend the hearings in order to expedite the approval of the annual budget said while Councilor Celia Lim  the committee must be given due respect. Councilors Librada Reyna-Macalanda and Acosta-Lim shared same positions. (Leonardo Micua)

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