12th SP Enacts 2014 Budget Ordinance

After several deliberations and after the careful and thorough study of our honorable councilors, they have finally reached a consensus and enacted the Proposed Ordinance No. 19-3, “APPROPRIATING THE SUM OF FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY NINE MILLION THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED FORTY ONE (Php 529,376,541.00) PESOS FROM THE GENERAL FUND FOR THE OPERATION OF THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF TAGBILARAN FROM JANUARY 01 TO DECEMBER 31, 2014 AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.”  The passage of the budget ordinance has been the topmost priority of the Sanggunian considering that the fiscal calendar year has begun.  As stated in Section 319 of the Local Government Code of 1991, “ On or before the end of the current fiscal year, the Sanggunian concerned shall enact, through an ordinance, the annual budget of the local government unit for the ensuing fiscal year on the basis of the estimates of income and expenditures submitted by the local chief executive” The ordinance enacting the annual budget ought to take effect at the beginning of the ensuing calendar year, however, due to calamities we had experienced last year leading to temporary loss of work place, there has been a delay in the preparation of the 2014 annual budget and the passage of budget ordinance. However, another provision in the Local Government Code specifically in Section 323, provides that the Sanggunian is given 90 days from the beginning of the fiscal year to enact such ordinance, otherwise, the ordinance authorizing the appropriations of the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted and shall remain in force and effect until the ordinance authorizing the proposed appropriations is passed by the Sanggunian.

Since the start of 2014, the sessions conducted by the 12th Sanggunian has been solely dedicated to the discussion of the 2014 budget ordinance. Ms. Rose Palma, the City Budget Officer had been invited in these sessions to ensure that clarifications regarding the budget will be fully explained. There were several questions raised by the few concerned law-makers who have taken an active role in ensuring that all the financial resources of the City government shall be utilized to support the implementation of various programs and projects that best promote the development of the city. Almost all questions regarding the budget were answered; however, there is one point in the proposed ordinance that caught the eye of Hon. Alexander H. Lim which he adamantly objects.

Section 12.1.a  of Proposed Ordinance No. 19-3 states;

12.1.a.  The Honorable City Mayor is hereby authorized to engage the services of or enter into contracts of services with professionals, non-professionals, contractuals and consultants and/or hire job order casuals at the reasonable rate to be determined by LCE.”

This provision is tantamount to giving full authority to the Mayor in hiring professionals, non-professional, contractual, consultants and job order casuals without needing the prior approval from the Sanggunian, thereby, leaving the Sanggunian no option to perform its check and balance function. The said objection led the body to divide the house.

Those who objected to the inclusion of the said provision were Hon. Alexander Lim, Hon. Oscar Glovasa, Hon. Nerio Zamora II and Hon. Lucillle Lagunay. Majority of the body voted on enacting the whole budget, namely Hon. Bebiano Inting, Hon. Adam Jala, Hon. Joseph Bompat, Hon. Edgar Bompat, Hon. Jeremias Pabe, Hon. Philip Besas and Hon. Alberta Torralba.

The enacted budget ordinance shall be submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawaigan so that they can review the ordinance authorizing the annual appropriations.