JVR to sue council over budget cut
Garry B. Lao (The Freeman) - January 11, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Talisay City Mayor Johnny De los Reyes is bent on filing a complaint before the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas over the City Council's slashing of the proposed budget for his office.

De los Reyes is protesting the City Council's recent move of cutting the proposed budget under his watch by about 50 percent.

The current council is dominated by Alayon Party councilors while the mayor and four of his colleagues at the council are associated with the Liberal Party.

Slimmed down

In his proposal, De los Reyes tendered a budget of P41.82 million solely for his office, but the council trimmed it down to P20.315 million.

In total, the mayor submitted a P1.081-billion budget for 2015 yet only P539.941 million of it was approved by the council in a special session on Friday.

The original proposal included P350 million allocation for the establishment of new Tabunok Public Market which was also consequently scrapped by the council.

The slashing also included significant reduction in the allocations for confidential/intelligence expenses and other maintenance and operating expenses, from P10 million to P100,000; gasoline and fuel allocation, from P6 million to  P2million; repairs and vehicle maintenance, from P5 million to P2 million; extraordinary expenses and miscellaneous expenses, from P426,000 to P76,000; advertising expenses, from P600,000 to P10,000; and training expenses, from P750,000 to P350,000.

How they voted

The Talisay City Council voted 9-2 in favor of passing the slashed 2015 budget.

Seven allies of Alayon Party in the council and another two from LP - Councilors Danilo Caballero and Aldin Diaz –voted for the approval of slashed budget, while Councilors Valeriano Ylanan and Dennis Basillote moved for its disproval, although subsequently outnumbered.

Politicized?

After the budget approval Friday night, the mayor, along with his son city administrator John Yre De los Reyes and department heads, had a closed-door meeting.

De los Reyes said he will submit his complaint to the DILG and Ombudsman next week.

"It's blatant politicking and grave abuse of authority," De los Reyes later said, referring to the reduction.

He pointed out that emergency or job order workers of the city government may lose their jobs because of the budget cut.

"This is due to the fact that we have to let go of some job order employees because the council slashed down the budget terribly," the mayor said.

Job order workers refer to people or groups paid under a lump sum appropriation for a short duration, having no employer-employee relations with the government.

The mayor's supposed lump-sum appropriation amounted to P4.7 million in the proposal. But out of that amount, the council merely approved P300,000, citing the need for the mayor to provide a specific breakdown of projects wherein which the amount would be spent.

De los Reyes assured, however, that he will not let the present opposition cripple vital government services.

Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante, the council presiding officer, defended the Alayon-dominated council for slashing the budget, saying the Office of the Mayor should have to itemize and identify projects to be funded by a lump-sum appropriation.

Austerity measures

Meanwhile, John Yre said he will impose austerity measures in his office as what the council wants him to do.

"Is it an insult? What can you do with P1,000 approved appropriation for one year? I will be operating my office with a typewriter and an electric fan on Monday," John Yre said.

A P6.833-million budget was proposed for John Yre's office as city administrator but only P1.167 million was approved.

Among significantly slashed items were lump-sum appropriation, from P733,000 to P3,000; travelling expenses, from P700,000 to P50,000; training expenses, from P600,000 to P50,000; office supplies, from P1 million to P500,000; other office supplies, from P300,000 to P50,000; Internet expenses, from P100,000 to P1,000; subscription expenses, from P50,000 to P1,000; repair and maintenance office building and equipment, from P500,000 to P1,000; other maintenance and operating expenses, from P1.850 million to P50,000; activities and programs, from P500,000 to P10,000.

"Paita aning P1,000 ilang gi-approve, mas maayo nalang unta ilang gi-zero aron maklaro nga nothing gyud. Ang ilang gihimo karon kay binata gyud kaayo," John Yre said.

'Pure perception'

Majority floor leader Richard Francis Aznar said the Alayon bloc members have nothing to hide, adding that the allegations made by De los Reyes' camp were "purely their perception."

Aznar said it was De los Reyes who first allowed partisan politics to get in the way and not the City Council's majority.

Villarante agreed with the majority bloc's sentiments, saying that council has been left in the dark about the mayor's plans and programs.

He said the disagreements between the local executive and legislative departments were a result of the absence of cooperation.

Villarante said the council's decision was not meant to cripple the De los Reyes' administration but to seek transparency and a symbiotic relationship between the local executive and legislative departments.  (FREEMAN)

 

BUDGET CITY COUNCIL COUNCIL EXPENSES JOHN YRE LOS MAYOR MILLION OFFICE REYES
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