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2016 BUDGET PASSED AT LAST

FRANK E. DOSDOS, JR.
Iligan City
February 2, 2016

In a vote of 13-0, the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) passed the 2016 Annual Appropriations Ordinance during its regular session Tuesday afternoon.

Sponsored by Finance and Appropriations Committee Chairman Alfredo R. Busico, the Budget amounting to P1,295,062 of the General Fund and P238,100,000 of the Special Account passed smoothly after the questioned items during the past four sessions in January were stricken out.

It was learned that the Budget for the Court of Appeals has been removed.
Likewise, it was also learned that the budget for Intelligence Funds and Confidential & Peace and Order Council Funds were excluded.

Councilor Emmanuel Salibay read a portion of a Commission and Audit Observation Report that the Intelligence Funds had become a means of obtaining taxpayers’ money for the personal expenses of local government chief executives.

Questioned by Salibay how government money can be stolen, as some radio commentators are saying that members of the SP are “kawatan” (thieves), City Accountant Raymundo Clavano said that he does not believe government money can be stolen because all disbursements passed through a strict process.

Clavano, however, admitted that he cashed a check in the amount of P1.250 Million advanced to Mayor Celso Regencia charged to Intelligence Funds in the last week of December.

He also told the SP that a Commission on Audit (COA) report observed that Regencia has not liquidated cash advances obtained from the Intelligence Fund in 2014.

According to Clavano he consulted with other Auditors and was advised that it was in order to release Cash Advances from the Intelligence Funds to Chief Executives.

In excluding appropriations for Intelligence and Peace and Order Council Funds, the sanggunian foresee that supplemental budget appropriating particular and specific peace and order expenditures may be passed during the fiscal year as necessity arises and when funds are available.

The Ordinance provides that the consolidated final budget shall be forwarded to the Office of the Mayor and subsequently to the Department of Budget and Management as soon as the figures shall been reviewed and found accurate by the SP.
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