QUEZON CITY – Quezon City officials are playing the tug of war over allegations the amount allotted for medicines and hazard pay for health personnel was excluded in this year’s budget, a report by the Manila Standard said.
It was Dr. Verdades Linga, health department head, who started the rumor mill, according to Majority Floor Leader and District 3 Councilor Franz Pumaren said in a statement.
Pumaren claimed that Linga circulated the false information that more than P110 million was removed from the city health’s 2019 budget to “malign the procedure of the budget deliberation and the city council.”
“I wish we would say the truth. It is a sole discretion of the city council. It was mandated by the law that we have every right to dissect every department, every budget—whether we increase, decrease or realign the budget. It just pains me to hear that. All of us can testify that we did not remove a big chunk of the city health department’s budget. That’s a big lie,” he added.
But Linga told the news outlet that she will attend the Blue Ribbon committee hearing to shed light on the issue.
“I was invited [on] Jan. 28 by Councilor Pumaren to listen to his privilege speech. Tomorrow [Thursday], I will be at the Blue Ribbon committee hearing to shed light on this [issue],” Linga in a text message.
District 4 Councilor Marvin Rillo proposed resolving the matter at the hearing.
“Invite all the people involved, invite the head of the appropriations committee to shed light, [and] invite of course, our head, Dra. Linga of the city health department,” Rillo said.
Rillo said Linga must face the consequences “because her accusations... maligned our vice mayor, our majority floor leader, and the members of this council because there is no truth to the accusation.”
Pumaren asserted that the city council is not disregarding the basic medical services for the people, adding the hazard pay for the employees of the health department would still be provided to eligible employees, subject to standard accounting and auditing procedures.
“The proposed P805 million of the city health department was technically approved by the city council with at least P110 million appropriated to the mayor’s office of the same budgetary item of drugs and medicines,” he explained.