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P129 Million Supplemental Budget Approved Without Question
« on: November 23, 2009, 01:33:00 PM »
Supplemental fund appropriations of the city government this year have reached a total of P129 million after the city council approved on Friday the fourth supplemental budget, with almost no questions asked, bypassing legislative procedures.

Expressing his "strong personal disgust" on the "absence of common decency" by some of his colleagues in the majority bloc, opposition City Councilor Zenaido "Djingo" Rama walked out of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) session hall after he was barred to ask questions to City Budget Officer Rosemarie Palma and declared "out of order" by fellow lawmaker Danilo Bantugan.
        
Rama, interviewed by the Chronicle minutes after staging a walkout, said the SP is being "systematically stripped of its oversight functions to ensure that public funds are being spent efficiently in line with priority programs and projects of the city government".

Showing documents concerning the latest supplemental appropriation amounting to P13,831,544, Rama pointed out that the SP Committee on Appropriation chaired by City Councilor Oscar Glovasa held a meeting to discuss the proposed supplemental budget on November 13 but the city mayor sent a letter requesting for the additional fund addressed to the SP on November 17, or four days after.

Moreover, the committee resolved to adopt an appropriation ordinance approving Supplemental Budget No. 4 on November 18 when it should have been presented to the SP in session for referral to Glovasa's committee.

"This is a very glaring disregard of legislative procedure. How can the committee on appropriation deliberate on the mayor's request for a supplemental budget when there has been no formal request from the chief executive?" Rama asked.

Rama added that even without a formal budget hearing on the committee level, the majority bloc succeeded to include the request for the extra budget during Friday's SP session where it breezed through approval on first, second and final reading.

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