The Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City if Tagbilaran held their session last April 14,2015, Tuesday instead of the usual Friday schedule because the SP officials led by Vice Mayor Jose Antonio S. Veloso will be joining their SP staff in their Lakbay-Aral / Educational tour in Cagayan De Oro City and Bukidnon.
During the session, members and representatives of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Saranggani Province joined the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod of City of Tagbilaran. Provincial Board Member of the First District of Saranggani Province George F. Falgui, in behalf of Vice Governor Jinkee J. Paquiao, expressed his gratitude to the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod for accommodating their legislative inquiries mainly about the booming Tourism Industry of the City. Hon. Falgui was joined by Sangguniang Panlalawigan staff members Divine Fernandez, Jeremie Catedral and Donny Vale Fernandez. Vice Governor Paquiao was unable to join them because she is still in the US supporting her husband, Manny Pacuiao, for his upcoming fight on May 3. Other ordinances being studied by Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Saranggani are the Transportation Ordinance, Drug Abuse Ordinance and Marine Mammal Ordinance. Their trip to Bohol is only the first leg of the series of legislative inquiries that they will be conducting in the Visayas to research, study, and compare ordinances that they will use in formulating legislative measures for the Province of Saranggani.
In lieu of the observation of the Holy Week, the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod, headed by presiding officer City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio S. Veloso, set their regular session last Tuesday, March 31.
During the session, Councilor Agustinus V. Gonzaga sought reconsideration of the approval of Ordinance 05-15 or the Supplemental Budget No. 01 amounting to P 18.7 million, which was approved by the body in their last session last March 27. Councilor Gonzaga clarified that he has no objection regarding the monetization expenses and the water treatment facility appropriation, but he expressed misgivings on the P13.5 million appropriated for furnitures and fixtures for the future City Hall. He asked the sponsor of said ordinance, Councilor Bebiano Inting, to provide the cost estimates and the specifications of the furnitures and fixtures and why there is an urgency to appropriate a budget at a very early stage considering that the rehabilitation of the City Hall has not even commenced. He further said that by approving the budget of 13.5 million, it is like setting the ceiling price for the purchase of the furnitures and fixtures.
Councilor Inting countered that there is no need for Councilor Gonzaga to worry about how the P13.5 million will be spent, the SP’s task is just to appropriate and that only the Commission on Audit is the proper office to audit and investigate on the City’s expenditures. Gonzaga reasoned that although the SP is only tasked to appropriate, it does not prohibit him, nor any member of the body to seek a clarification on how the City’s budgets will be spent. He added that as the legislative arm of the City Government, it is the SP’s primary role to perform check and balance and not merely be a stamping pad.
Gonzaga moved for reconsideration of the approval of the supplemental budget, but in the end, he was outnumbered by the majority which denied his motion for reconsideration.
As the City Government of Tagbilaran gets ready for the Saulog sa Tagbilaran 2015, questions arise on the significance of celebrating the said activity during the third regular session for March of the SP, presided by Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso. The inquiry stemmed from Hon.Adam Jala who questioned Hon. Beben Inting after the latter ushered seven proposed resolutions requesting for financial assistance from the Provincial officials to help defray the expenses that will be incurred for the celebration of the Saulog.
It can be recalled that in last year’s Saulog, there were several issues on the lack of transparency on the expenses incurred. Hon. Adam wanted to ensure that the same issues would not resurface for this year’s activity, especially that an estimate of P5 million is allotted for the activity.
Hon. Butchie Zamora also asked Hon. Inting on the significance of said activity considering the long celebration, not to mention the huge expenses it will entail. The Saulog 2015 was launched last March 16 and will culminate on May 1. Hon. Veloso added that it is not possible that the Saulog is a celebration of the resiliency of the Tagbilaranons because the banners of the Saulog represent the feast of the City’s patron, St. Joseph. The banners alone do not represent all the sectors of the City and could not even depict resiliency.
Hon. Inting promised the SP that he will conduct further study regarding this and will present it to the body so that the body can have a unified response when asked about the significance of the said celebration.
The serious mode of the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod of Tagbilaran eased out when the candidates of the Mutya sa Tagbilaran 2015 with the reigning Mutya sa Tagbilaran 2014, Ms. Geraldine Topsnik paid their courtesy call during the third regular session for March.
Vice Mayor Jose Antonio S. Veloso led the welcoming of the ladies and the rest of the Sangguniang Panlungsod members all gave them well-wishes and good luck in the Pageant and Coronation Night on April 24, 2015.
Thirteen out of the fifteen candidates entered the portals of the session hall with grace and poise. Each candidate possessed a different kind of charm and are all befitting to represent their barangays. Surely, the pageant night will be an event to look forward to as we anticipate the new Mutya sa Tagbilaran who will represent the City of Tagbilaran.
The Sangguniang Barangay of Bool will be holding and sponsoring cultural activities this month in preparation for their Barangay fiesta on April 5. The cultural activities will be one of the barangay’s means in fostering camaraderie and upholding harmonious relationships among their constituents.
Vice Mayor Toto handed financial assistance amounting to P50,000.00 to Punong Barangay Nestor Mendez last March 16 at the Barangay Hall of Bool and let the rest of the members of Sangguniang Barangay know that he will support them in the programs and activities of their barangay. VM Toto stressed the importance of that these activities which help promote the rich cultural heritage of Barangay Bool. These activities are also in line with the City’s thrust in promoting the tourism industry and help make our City known not only for its beautiful scenery but also with its bright and colorful history.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod officials and members are all excited to hold its first ever Lakbay Aral under the leadership of City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio S. Veloso. The Proposed Lakbay-Aral or Benchmarking and Organization Development Activity of the Sangguniang Panlungsod shall be done in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City. Tentative dates for the Lakbay-Aral shall be on April 15-17. The Lakbay-aral aims to determine the LGU’s best practices on Legislations, their programs, thrusts ad operations. This is in accordance with the City Government of Tagbilaran’s thrust to have an efficient and effective delivery of basic services to its constituents.
The 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod, headed by City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio S. Veloso , thanked LTO Registrar of Tagbilaran City, Mr. Erwin Patalinghog and SP04 Winnie Lopena, Head, Traffic Division, City PNP Office, Tagbilaran City for honoring the invitation sent by the body. Last week, Hon. Jerry Pabe, Chair of Committee on Public Utilities expressed his objection about the joint memorandum of LTO and LTFRB claiming that the LTO’s penalties of P5,000.00 on erring PUV’s is exorbitant and tantamount to extortion. Mr. Patalinghog joined the session to clear the allegations presented by Hon. Pabe and also to clarify the provisions of JAO 2014-01. Mr. Patalinghog emphasized that LTO do not apprehend tricycle franchises, but rather the licenses and the registrations of the unit. In the end, it has been agreed that tricycle franchises are not under the scope of JAO 2014-01. It has been further emphasized during the session that tricycle franchises are under the scope of the Local Government Unit and not under the LTO nor LTFRB.
As the celebration of Blood Compact Day is nearing, controversy on the Blood Compact site once again arises. A letter addressed to Hon. City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio S. Veloso by the concerned Tagbilaranons wanted to protest on the declaration of NHI that the site of the Blood Compact is in Hinawanan, Loay, Bohol and not in Bool, Tagbilaran City;
Controversy arose when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed on April 2001, Republic Act No. 9093, “declaring March 16 of every year as a working special public holiday for the City of Tagbilaran and the province of Bohol to be known as the Blood Compact Day, and for other purposes in commemoration of the blood compact entered into by Spanish Captain-General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Boholano Chieftain, Datu Sikatuna, the first treaty of friendship and alliance between Spaniards and Filipinos on March 16, 1565 in Barangay Bool, City of Tagbilaran. Later in 2005, the National Historical Institute (NHI), a national government agency, to take care of the historical, or scientific or archaeological sites in the country, in its approved Resolution No. 04, series of 2005, declared that Loay town is the place where the blood compact took place on March 25, 1565.
The 12th SP decided that before making a stand on this issue, they will have to refer it to the City Tourism Council for further study and coordinate with the Provincial Government.
During the first regular session of the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod for the month of March, Hon. Jerry Pabe, Chairman of the Committee on Public Utilities, expressed his vehement objection to Joint Administrative Order (or JAO) No. 2014-01, issued by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). This JAO has become the basis of the local LTO to charge by as much as P5,000.00, even on first offense, against tricycle drivers for common traffic and/or franchise violations that could go much higher to P15,000.00.
Hon. Jose Antonio Veloso suggested that before resorting to a resolution, LTO-Tagbilaran Registrar Erwin Patalinghug be invited during the succeeding sessions in order to clarify some traffic violations included in the JAO and to justify the rationale behind the creation of such administrative order.
The 7th Sangguniang Barangay of Bool of the City of Tagbilaran, led by Punong Barangay Nestor Mendez ushered the concerns and issues of their barangay to the august body of the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod headed by City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio S. Veloso during their joint session held at the Barangay Hall of Bool last February 20, 2015.
The concerns and issues presented by Punong Barangay Mendez, were addressed one by one by the legislative body of the City. The City Councilors duly assisted the barangay officials of Bool and presented step by step instructions and guidance to expedite the resolution of the problems of their barangay.
Among the concerns and issues raised during the joint session were:
1. Explanation on the actual and exact share of allotment receivable by each of the fifteen (15) barangays of the City of Tagbilaran from the 20% City Development Fund (CDF).
2. Updates on the proposed construction of a boardwalk in the Mangrove Range located along the Coast of Barangay Bool
3. Improvement of Road going to Banat-I Hill as part of the Road Development Program
4. Information updates regarding any action, such as damage or reparatory claims , rehabilitation plan or even compromise settlement in connection to the considerable damage of the already threatened resources of the Bool Marine Sanctuary caused by the ramming of a cargo vessel/barge last November 8, 2014 at the height of Typhoon Yolanda
VM Toto Veloso expressed his gratitude to the members of the Sangguniang Barangay of Bool for hosting and organizing the joint session. The 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod members passed a resolution expressing their appreciation to the 7th Sangguniang Barangay of Bool for the successful joint session held at Barangay Bool.