A Makati City councilor has reminded members of the opposition bloc in the Sangguniang Panlungsod that the protracted approval of the 2019 executive budget of the city has consequently held up the approval of the respective budgets of the 33 barangays and Sangguniang Kabataan councils of the city.
“Let me remind my colleagues in the City Council who have been stonewalling the passage of the Appropriation Ordinance for the 2019 city budget that they are, in effect, causing major setbacks in the implementation of new projects at the barangay level, to the detriment of our constituents,” Councilor Armand Padilla said.
Padilla, who is the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, urged the opposition councilors to set aside their political differences “so as not to cause any more delay in the approval of budget that would put the welfare of the citizens at stake.”
While the city budget approval remains pending, no other matters, including barangay and SK budgets, may be taken up by the Sanggunian, he noted.
“Under Section 323 of the Local Government Code, we cannot take up any Barangay or SK budget until we have approved the city budget. The immediate passage of the Appropriation Ordinance is needed so we can start deliberations on barangay and SK budgets,” Padilla said.
“The protracted approval of the city budget has forced our barangays to operate on a reenacted budget, denying residents the added benefits offered by new, innovative projects planned for the year,” he stressed.
The proposed 2019 budgets of the city’s 33 barangays are estimated to reach P1.7 billion.
Councilor Rodolfo San Pedro, Jr., chairman of the SK Federation of Makati, also appealed to the opposition.
“The Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Makati urges the opposition bloc in the City Council to pass the 2019 city budget without further delay. Otherwise, all our efforts to put together innovative and high-impact projects for the benefit of our fellow youth in Makati will be in vain,” San Pedro said.
Aside from salaries, other personnel-related expenditures and utilities, each barangay budget has allocations for programs, projects and activities.
These include weight monitoring and feeding programs for children, dengue prevention, capability-building for barangay environmental police, clean-and-green initiatives, barangay outposts, and the acquisition of bicycles, tri-bikes, CCTV cameras, fire extinguishers, and other emergency response equipment.
As required by law, five percent of total budget is allotted to Gender and Development (GAD) promotion, and three percent of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) is allotted to the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children and its initiatives.
Under the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015 (RA 10742), ten percent of the general fund of the barangay shall be set aside for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).
The Sangguniang Barangay shall appropriate the SK funds in lump-sum, which shall be disbursed solely for youth development and empowerment purposes.
The law also mandates that priority be given to initiatives that promote and ensure equitable access to quality education, environmental protection, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and resiliency, youth employment and livelihood, health and anti-drug abuse, gender sensitivity, sports development, and capability building which emphasizes leadership training.
Opposition councilors who have consistently voted to defer the budget approval are Majority Floor Leader and Head of the Committee on Laws, Rules and Ethics, Councilor Nemesio Yabut, Jr.; Councilor Divina Jacome, Head of the Committee on Appropriations and Budget; Councilors Shirley Aspillaga, Grazielle Iony De Lara-Bes, Ferdinand Eusebio, Leonardo Magpantay, Romeo Medina, Arlene Ortega, Nelson Pasia, Mary Ruth Tolentino, Marie Alethea Casal-Uy, and Evelyn Delfina Villamor.
Members of the minority who have pushed for the immediate passage of the Appropriation Ordinance are Minority Floor Leader Councilor Maria Concepcion Yabut, and Councilors Virgilio Hilario, Jr., Luis Javier, Jr., Padilla and San Pedro.
Under Section 323 of the Local Government Code of 1991, in case the Sanggunian concerned fails to pass the ordinance authorizing the annual appropriations at the beginning of the ensuing fiscal year, it shall continue to hold sessions, without additional remuneration for its members, until such ordinance is approved, and no other business may be taken up during such sessions.
Budgets of barangays and SK, or any other agendas, will not be deliberated on in the Sangguniang Panlungsod weekly council sessions until the city’s 2019 budget is approved, or until March 31, 2019 when the budget of 2018 will be deemed reenacted. Barangays will operate on a reenacted budget until the approval of their respective 2019 budgets.
Under Republic Act (RA) 7854 or the Charter of the City of Makati, the Sangguniang Panlungsod is mandated to review all ordinances approved by Sangguniang Barangay and executive orders issued by the Punong Barangay to determine whether these are within the scope of the prescribed powers of the council and the barangay chairman.
On the other hand, RA 10742 provides that the Sangguniang Panlungsod shall review the annual budget and supplemental budget of the Sangguniang Kabataan.