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Board members’ funds hostaged by Herrera?
« on: March 31, 2010, 07:01:07 PM »
The discretionary funds of the provincial board members are held “hostage” by Nacionalista Party candidate Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera in his power play of “dirty” politics.
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The members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), which presiding officer is Herrera himself, assailed that this smacks of the absence of transparency and is, therefore, “a clear violation of our Citizen’s Charter.”

They warned Herrera “not to push” them “to the wall” because “the wall is dirty.”

Apart from withholding the discretionary funds, Herrera has lost leadership in the provincial legislature because of his habitual absences during regular sessions. Senior Board Member Cesar Tomas Lopez would usually take his place as presiding officer.

If he was around, the session would start close to lunchtime. The board members fully doubted his capability to lead the province itself. They had long formally raised their complaints.

In their signed joint letter, the board members told Herrera that they do “not touch what are rightfully yours. We are only asking you to please see reason and give us what is due us.”

The capitol lawmakers need to have their discretionary funds, otherwise known as the Provincial Development Initiative Program (PDIP) allocations, released so that the election ban on projects should have been avoided.

The PDIP is their source of essential financial aids to various projects and programs in barangays and other beneficiaries in their respective districts.

Each board member is allocated P1 million PDIP but they noticed that the entire SP budget for PDIP this year amounts to almost P30 million. The whole SP budget has also increased to P130 million or higher by some P25 million as against last year’s.

“Our PDIP vouchers are being hostaged by your office for reasons we cannot fathom. This is a clear violation of our Citizen’s Charter,” the SP members desperately wrote to Herrera.

The Citizen’s Charter is a set of standards for efficient and transparent government service. It is mandated under the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA), a law against excess bureaucracy that breeds bribery and other manners of corruption.

The signatories to the joint letter include Board Members Concepcion Lim who is the provincial federation president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), Brigido Imboy who is the head of the Philippine Councilors’ League (PCL) in Bohol, Cesar Tomas Lopez who is the senior SP member, Jose Veloso, Alfonso Damalerio II, Amalia Tirol, Ester Corazon Galbreath and Aster Piollo.

An assistant was authorized to sign for Board Member Jane Censoria Cajes, national and provincial president of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and commissioner of the National Youth Commission (NYC).

They reminded Herrera that as friends and co-workers in government, particularly in the provincial legislature, they agreed to avoid politics marring their good personal relationship.

That as duly-elected members of the highest policy-making body of the province, they are supposed to be “honorable” and will thus do their best to maintain such distinction while delivering services expected of them by the people, they said.

The board members are authorized to extend financial assistance to the projects in barangays using their individual PDID allocations.

They said they respect the privilege of the vice governor to get biggest PDIP share and other perks of his office.

However, Herrera has acted contrary to their agreements, causing the relationship between him and the board members to get sour.

The provincial lawmakers cited the increases in certain SP budget items which the vice governor assured would benefit all in the name of better service to the people.

But the bloated allocations “were instead used by your office alone,” the board members blasted Herrera. They also hit him for refusing to increase their fuel budget.

Further, they asked Herrera not to unduly delay the realignment and appointment of their casual workers.

The vice governor has been unfair to them since hundreds of casual employees have been paid by the government yet fielded provincewide for Herrera’s politicking since last year.

The board members wrote to Herrera their grievances because they would not like to submit the issues to the “court of public opinion.”
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