JULY 27-AUG 2, 2013

Some city councilors mostly the old reelected ones and allies of former Mayor Rey Uy, have declared a “honeymoon for 100 days” during which they would have to cooperate with the new administration of City Mayor Allan Rellon.

But Mayor Rellon, in an interview Thursday late afternoon with the Valley & City Chronicle, was quick to reply: “What honeymoon? We already have sweet moments together right after the May 13 elections.” 
In the current 12-man City Council, the new mayor has only City Councilor Macario “Bong” Bermudez as his companionwho won from his slate under the PDP-Laban party in the last polls. The rest came from the Liberal Party except Councilor Agripino “Jun” Coquilla who along with Vice Mayor Geterito “Boyet” Gementiza won under the Aksyon Demokratiko party.
It was Councilor Allan Zulueta who first dropped he would be in for a honeymoon with the new mayor during a session.
In the midst of the deliberation of the P10-million new slaughterhouse project of the city government in the last July 8 session, Zulueta said on raised voice pitch he would shout to “cite practices that should be stopped because I am serving my last term.”
He added he was against to a budget allocation for one year that would be used only for three months. The subject was for the P503,495 savings from unfilled, funded positions as of June 30, 2103 to be allocated to fund for the job order personnel whose total budget would only last up to the end of September 2013.
Acting City Budget Officer Fe Inutan, who was invited to shed light on the city’s state of funds right after the May elections, said that the savings was generated because the previous administration of former Uy did not utilize all the 45 percent maximum allowable budget ceiling for personnel services (PS).
Inutan said that when new Mayor Rellon assumed office, the budget for JO personnel was almost exhausted but the rest of the budgets “are generally within the limits and generally are going well.”
She said the city’s budget under the new administration should first and foremost give importance to mandatory obligations such as the salaries and wages of its more than 2,000 regular, casual and JO personnel, to maintenance and other operating expenditures (MOOE), and light and power.
“Budget for capital expenditure is not a priority,” she informed the city council.
City Councilor Dr. Oscar “Oca” Bermudez said that because of the diminishing budget for the over 1,000 JO personnel the city government would have to expect “budget realignments”, which appeared to find no comfort to Zulueta as he subsequently raised to rile over a year’s budget for three-month use.
But what visibly made Zulueta to fume much over was when another resource person Arturo “Sonny” Manigo, project development officer from the planning office, took the rostrum to shed light on P10-million new slaughterhouse.
The project needed an urgent action from the city council as the check of P10-million grant from the Dept. of Agriculture to fund it might be returned if no actual construction and development of the project would commence by end of August.
At this juncture, Zulueta intensely grilled Manigo and threw many short questions like the latter was being cross-examined. Several questions were asked to be answerable only in “yes” or “no”.
The new slaughterhouse, located at Magdum at the back of the feedmill plant, turned out to have a problem on the access road right of way leading to the 5-hectare project site which the city government has yet to pay P1.5 million for Rosanna Tuazon-Fores, chairman and CEO of Tuazon firm, the landowner.
The land is the city government’s counterpart to the P10-million grant from DA, whose contract was already signed last February 2013, during the time of former Mayor Uy. DA’s check was dated May 22, 2013.
In that session, the sanggunian has still to act on papers for the access road while there was already a P1.5-million budget for the land acquisition.
The new slaughterhouse, planned to be modern and Double-B type, would replace the old slaughterhouse at Tipaz. The latter is already surrounded by urbanized and residential areas.
At one point, Zulueta raised his voice questioning why the city council was being urgently pressed to fast-track acting on the matter at a period when the city government is given the time to commence work.
After the session, asked about Zulueta’s honeymoon declaration at the session, Councilor Tristan Royce “Bong” Aala said there is need to have a honeymoon and “it is just normal for the legislative department to cooperate with the office of the mayor under a new administration.”
“But it does not mean we will be declaring war after the 100 days, we will support the mayor as long as it benefits the people,” he added.
Asked if Zulueta was grandstanding, Councilor Oscar “Doc Oca” Bermudez said “it depends on one’s perception.”
Councilor Coquilla only quipped, “seguro naa siya’y (Zulueta) padulngan in the future .”
“He wants to make a legacy,” Aala described Zulueta’s action on the floor.
Mayor Rellon said in separate interview that when he assumed office he was bequeathed with a remaining 40 percent of the total annual budget.
For 2013, the city government’s budget is P895.435 million. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)


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