Talisay Council defends budget cuts before gov

(The Freeman) - January 29, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Talisay City Council only approved a budget that is realistic for what Talisay government has in its coffers.

This was what the council told Cebu Governor Hilario Davide yesterday as it stands by its decision to trim down to P539 million the P1 billion budget the executive department proposed for 2015.

Talisay Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante said the city earned only P516 million in 2014, including the Internal Revenue Allotment share for 2015 at P419 million.

He also explained that the proposed P1 billion budget included the P350 million allocation for the construction of a new Tabunok Public Market, which the council scrapped.

“Gikuha namo ang P350 million kay if we will include that in the budget, mura mi’g ma-technical ba nga tabla ra og amo na siyang gi-authorize nga mo-utang og P350 million. Unya ang council di man gusto mo-utang og P350M,” he said.

With the P350 million out of the picture, the council only had to deliberate on a P700 million budget on the average. Still, it cut down some items reportedly due to ‘unclear breakdown’ on the appropriations.

In the end, only P539 million was approved.

The items that were slashed included the P41.82 million appropriated for the Office of the Mayor, which was reduced to P20.31 million. This covers allocations for confidential/intelligence expenses amounting P10 million (reduced to P100,000); gasoline and fuel allocation amounting to P6 million (reduced to P2 million); and repairs and vehicle maintenance amounting to P5 million (reduced to P2 million), among others.

Villarante also disclosed that the intelligence fund allocated for the mayor’s office for peace and order last year was not utilized for the purpose, as provided by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, but was instead allegedly doled out to people as financial assistance.

“The allocation for the repair and maintenance sa vehicles is also millions when in fact we only have three vehicles operating out of 17,” he added.

The Talisay councilors pointed out the need to cut down the maintenance and operating expenses since it was only utilized as payment for Job Order employees.

Villarante said there were funds Mayor Johnny Delos Reyes has realigned to pay JOs allegedly without the Council’s approval.

“Pag-last quarter sa 2014 wa nay ikapanweldo na sa JO kay grabehan na ang pagdawat, ang among budget intawn sa SB (Sangguniang Bayan) ang among LAF (legislative assistance fund) ang gigamit,” he said.

Villarante assured that basic services will not be affected despite the ‘minor’ cuts on the budget.

“Among gipasalig sa mayor nga kung duna siya’y panginahanglanon sa iyang operation, andam mi kanunay paghatag og supplemental,” he said.


‘State of calamity’

Delos Reyes says otherwise.

“Apektuhan gyud ang Talisay sa ilang gihimo. Ang mga gikinahanglan man gud ni’s mga Ta-lisaynon. Muingun nalang ko’s mga tawo, kung unsa man gyud mahitabo sa atong Talisay, wa gyud koy sala aning tanan,” he said.

He said the city is in a “state of calamity,” especially that the release of the wages of both regular and contractual employees has been delayed for several days.

“Mura mi ani’g gikalamidad. Mangamatay ang katawhan sa Talisay kung ingun ani nalang pirmi among sitwasyon,” he told The Freeman.

He said the wages for the job order employees were supposed to be released on January 20.

Only two councilors, Dennis Basillote and Val Ylanan, opposed the budget cuts.

De los Reyes contended it is not for the council to decide whether or not he had projects because the same is the job of the Commission on Audit.

The mayor said that if the council really wanted to take his discretionary funds away, it should have spared the budget for basic services like health and the budget for the Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO), the office that provides financial and medical assistance to poor residents of the city.

 “Pero ila sa’ng gikabhangan. Asa naman lang moduol ang mga tawo?” Delos Reyes said.

Since the council only slashed the budget of the executive department while keeping its own intact, Delos Reyes urged indigents to approach the councilors for assistance.

“Kung wa na gyu’y ikatabang ang DSWD, adtoa ninyo didto ang mga konsehal. Pangayu-i ninyo didto og tabang,” he said.

Davide, for his part, said he will hear the side of the mayor and is eyeing at meeting both parties to resolve the issue. — (FREEMAN)

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