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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 21, 2013
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‘Executive-legislative body
could further delay budget’

KABANKALAN CITY - Negros Occidental Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr. yesterday said he believes that the creation of an executive-legislative committee, to address the 2013 budget impasse, may further delay its passage by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

“Why should we not just follow the normal flow (at the SP regular sessions) to avoid the delay?” Alvarez asked, while saying he sees no problem with the creation of an executive–legislative committee.

Alvarez also reiterated that he only acts as the presiding officer of the Sanggunian.

A member of the Progressive Alliance of Capitol Employees, which is appealing to the SP to pass the 2012 budget so they can get their fourth tranche salary increases and P20,000 bonus, suggested Friday that a committee composed of representatives of the executive and legislative offices and the employees be convened to tackle their concerns.

The SP members have failed to approve the P2.02 billion budget for this year, and are waiting for a reply from the Department of Interior on Local Government, onwhether they can discuss the budget for only 90 days, after they failed to approve it at the start of the fiscal year.

The creation of the executive-legislative committee, will be taken up at the SP regular session, on top of a dialog between representatives of the two branches of the provincial government, Alvarez said, but pointed out that that it will further delay the deliberations on the budget.

He said the SP has not taken up any appropriation ordinances of local government units, which could be finished even in 30 minutes, of the proposed 2013 budget, which was included in the calendar of business in the January 16 regular session.

“They wanted to finish the 2013 budget first but had questioned it, although it was already included in the calendar of business. I can’t see their point,” Alvarez, who is challenging Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. in the 2013 gubernatorial race, said, referring to the SP minority block.

Who delayed the budget deliberations? he asked.

If they just allow the normal process during regular sessions, the budget will surely be discussed, Alvarez said.

Board Member Miller Serondo, one of the five board members who had pushed for approval of the budget, invoked Section 323 of the Local Government Code, that states, “no other business maybe taken up during sessions” if the Sangguniang concerned fails to pass the appropriations at the start of the year.

This led to the adjournment of two consecutive sessions of the SP. Majority of the SP members, who are allies of Alvarez, disapproved the 2013 budget.

Alvarez, however, blamed the minority bloc for the delay deliberations of the budget, but this was dismissed by Marañon as “illogical,” saying it was the majority of the SP members who disapproved it.

“To say that the minority is delaying the passage of the budget defies logic. Where have you seen the minority dictating upon the majority?” Marañon asked.

Marañon also said that he is amenable to the creation of the committee, while Board Member Emilio Yulo III said the suggestion is worth looking into.

Yulo, however, also said there is already an existing legislative-executive committee, that was activated during the administrations of then Gov. Joseph Marañon and Vice Gov. Isidro Zayco, who is now the city mayor of Kabankalan. Maybe, this will be a golden opportunity to reactivate it, he added.

If the request of majority of the SP members is complied with by the executive branch, Alvarez said the 2013 budget will surely be approved.*GPB

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