LAOAG’S 2019 BUDGET PUT ON HOLD
LAOAG CITY — The 2019 annual budget of the city government here has been put on hold after majority of the local legislators voted in favor of its disapproval on Thursday.
During a special session, Vice Mayor Franklin Respicio said seven members voted for the budget approval’s deferment in view of some lacking documents which the body requested from the accountant of the Laoag City General Hospital (LCGH) last year but have not been submitted up to now.
In the 2019 proposed budget of more than PHP800 million, the LCGH requested for an additional PHP2 million to its PHP8-million subsidy.
According to City Councilor Edison Bonoan, it is the duty of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) to know how LCGH's 2018 budget was spent and to determine if the increase is justified.
The LCGH in December reported a projected income of PHP131 million for 2018 but around PHP24 million was given in the form of discounts to selected beneficiaries of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).
When asked for the list of the individual CSWDO beneficiaries and breakdown of discounts, LCGH accountant Karen Joyce Acosta failed to show up during the deliberation, resulting in the disapproval of the 2019 budget.
Councilor John Roger Farinas insisted there is no reason to delay the approval of the 2019 budget.
Should there be any irregularity in the 2018 budget, it is up to the Commission on Audit to investigate, he said.