Despite the absence of 12 mayors the Provincial Development Council approved Friday,
some P230-million worth of projects for the towns and cities, with funds coming from
its 20% development funds. The province has a total budget of over P1billion annually.
On several occasions Governor Roel Degamo, who chairs the PDC, got into heated arguments with Congressman George Arnaiz of the 2nd District and Pryde Henry Teves of the 3rd District over matters like the much delayed construction of the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital Central Block Building.
At some point, the meeting had to be suspended after Arnaiz scored the Governor for repeatedly banging his gavel while the former was making a point and threatened that he would walk out from the proceeding.
A walkout by Arnaiz and his allies with the Nationalist People’s Coalition would have aborted the PDC meeting for lack of quorum. The solon said that of the 43 members of the full council only 28 were present, 6 of whom are mere representatives of the mayors who chose to stay away from the proceedings.
“Had I walked out about 10 other members of the council will go along with me,” said Arnaiz.
Mabinay Mayor Ernie Uy, an NPC member, admitted that if Cong. Arnaiz left the meeting his fellow NPC mayors would have followed him along with Vice-Governor Jun Arnaiz.
Based on the attendance only 7 mayors chose to be physically present during Friday’s meeting, namely, Dumaguete City Mayor Chiquiting Sagarbarria, Amlan Mayor Bentham Dela Cruz, Pamplona Mayor Apollo Arnaiz, San Jose Mayor Melo Remollo, Sibulan Mayor Marcela Bartoces-Grampon, Vallehermoso Joniper Villegas and Uy. Except Villegas of the Nacionalista Party, the rest of the mayors present are members of the NPC.
Absent were predominantly LP Mayors: Jimalalud Mayor Dodoy Tuanda, Tayasan Mayor Winboy Sameon, Guihulngan Mayor Ernesto Reyes, La Libertad Mayor Lawrence Limkaichong, Bindoy Mayor Valente Yap, Bacong Mayor Lenin Alviola, Dauin Mayor Neil Credo, Siaton Mayor Albert Ator, Zamboanguita Mayor Kit Marc Adanza, Canlaon Mayor Jimmy Clerigo, Basay Mayor Dandilgust Abrio (NPC) and Bayawan Mayor Rene Gaudiel (NPC).
The Mayors of Ayungon, Bais, Sta. Catalina, Tanjay City, Manjuyod and Valencia merely sent their representatives.
The object of the mayors’ disappointment triggering their non-attendance was the failure of the Governor to duly inform them of the reversion of their unimplemented projects and their realignment to entirely different programs to another municipality or city without notice or consultation.
Mayor Grampon and Valencia Municipal Administrator Earl Tale attempted to seek the Governor’s reconsideration for the P 1.3 million and P 3.5 million allocations for their respective gyms but since the realignments were already approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Degamo assured the two LGUs that they will receive their share of the 20% Development Fund surplus come February 2013.
Mayors Uy, Grampon, Remollo and Tale decided not to press their case and their concerns so as not to burden the PDC Chairman.
Congressman Arnaiz posited that the Governor must make it a policy that henceforth any proposed projects before they are appropriated or implemented, the mayors regardless of their partisan affiliations must be consulted as a matter of respect.
Nevertheless, the solon gleefully acknowledged that the Governor has allocated some P 81 million for the second district.
The members of the Provincial Board are also pleased to learn that the Governor upon the request of Cong. Arnaiz acceded to the transfer of the funds intended for the priority projects of the provincial legislators in their respective districts from the control of the Office of the Governor back to the Office of the Vice-Governor as a means to ensure a healthy working relationship between the executive and legislative departments. (by Dems Demecillo)