ILOILO CITY OPERATES ON PARTIAL RE-ENACTED BUDGET IN 2019
The Sangguniang Panlungsod fails to override the line veto of the 2019 approved budget of the Iloilo City government on Tuesday (January 8, 2018). The city government here has been operating on a partially re-enacted budget due to the failure. (Photo by Annabel Petinglay)
ILOILO CITY — The city government here has been operating on a partially re-enacted budget after the Sangguniang Panlungsod (Iloilo City Council) failed to override the line veto of the 2019 annual budget by the local chief executive (LCE) during its regular session on Tuesday.
The board, with eight favorable votes instead of voting to override the veto, passed two resolutions – the first for the veto message to be noted down and the second, calling on the local finance committee to observe the annual budget that was approved by the council amounting to PHP2.31 billion.
“As chairman of the committee on appropriations, I will treat this veto as null and void. It is not enforceable, it is not effective, it is not binding to the Sangguniang Panlungsod because this is not sanctioned by any provision of law,” majority floor leader and committee on appropriations chair, lawyer Plaridel Nava, said.
City administrator, Hernando Galvez, in an interview said the resolution “is nothing but an expression of sentiment”.
“It has no legal, it has no binding effect, it carries no punishment,” Galvez said.
He pointed out that should the council deem that the mayor has committed a mistake, the remedy should be to override the veto.
“Because they did not override, meaning to say they recognize and it cannot be prevented that in so far as the vetoed items are concerned, the corresponding 2018 budget will be the basis in accordance with the budget operations manual for local government units,” he said.
Galvez added that with the condition, they could no longer pass a supplemental budget for the same items.
“All supplemental budgets for 2018 will also be deemed re-enacted,” he added.
However, he explained that there is not much difference in the 2018 and 2019 budget because last year’s annual budget was only PHP2.21 billion.
Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa vetoed all items under the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of the city mayor’s office except for items on security services and project “dakip” for being prejudicial to public welfare.
The mayor in his veto message said that splitting the MOOE budget into two semesters would make the annual budget a semi-annual budget, which is not allowed by law.
He cited that dividing the disbursements into two would not only affect but would “greatly prejudice” the operation and functioning of various offices involved and the delivery of basic services.
He also said that it would slow down the performance and efficiency of offices concerned and place many programs and activities of the city at a “standstill” during periods when procurement processes are ongoing.
Mayor Espinosa also vetoed the budget for casual salaries of the offices of the city mayor, population, human resource management, budget, legal, city planning and development, treasurer, assessor, agriculturist, civil registrar, engineer, general services, city environment and natural resources, accountant, veterinarian, tourism, social welfare and development, Technical Institute of Iloilo City, Iloilo City Community College, internal audit, information system, public safety and transportation management and honorarium for four programs of the city government. (PNA)