Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella yesterday said they will try to look for funds to pay the P200 million account of the city with Central Negros Electric Cooperative, despite the fact that the city is also dunning Ceneco for its unpaid taxes.
Puentevella said that out of the P200 million account only P64 million was incurred by the Verdeflor and Valdez administrations and the past administration has a balance of about P150 million, while the Ceneco taxes due also runs to millions.
He said they have to resolve the matter or there will always be brownouts and they will be blamed for it.
Puentevella claimed they will also be spending P77 million for the interest of the P1.3 billion loans he inherited from the past administration. So in due time they will start to pay as long as they have funds.
Leonardia said Puentevella is conveniently forgetting that CENECO owes the city a substantial amount and they are supposed to be offsetting it with the city’s bills.
“As for our current account, he could have paid it out of the surplus. And as far as our loan is concerned, the problem with him is that he does not know how to distinguish between what is due and demandable and what is the total obligation,” he said.
Leonardia said debt servicing is part of the Annual Budget. The yearly budget has appropriations for mandatory obligations, but only for that particular year.
“So you are supposed to pay by installments. That is common sense and common practice,” he said. “But maybe that is all beyond his understanding.”
Leonardia said even the National Competitiveness Council said Bacolod is among the top three in terms of government efficiency.
Bacolod has been consistently recognized and acknowledged among the premier cities in the Philippines, he said.
He (Puentevella) is doing all these squid tactics to prepare excuses for the possible failure of his administration.
Meanwhile, Puentevella has submitted to the Sangguniang Panlungsod the breakdown it required for the funding requirements of the P9.2 million for salaries and wages of 114 casual employees under the City Mayor’s Office.
The breakdown is in compliance with the request of the SP upon its approval of the P50 million supplemental budget he had requested.
The amount of P9.2 million is broken down as follows : salaries and wages of casuals - P6,156,000, PERA - P1,368,000, PhilHealth contributions - P80,000, year-end bonus - P1,026,000,and cash gift - P570,000.
Puentevella said they will be hiring casuals and will increase the number of traffic enforcement personnel and street cleaners. “We will be practicing quality over quantity,” he said, adding that they will be hiring fewer casuals compared to the past administration.
Since they have limited funds, they will be looking for other sources in order to pay the terminal benefits of plantilla casuals who have resigned, as requested by the councilors, Puentevella said.
He also claimed that there were casuals during the term of former Mayor Luzviminida Valdez that were not paid by the previous administration their terminal benefits.
Leonardia said that was ages ago and he did not know the circumstances. But there might have been reasons to that. If proven that they deserve the payment, why not pay them?
Probably there were problems and they had incomplete submission of requirements because otherwise they would have been paid already, he said.*CGS