The recent annual audit report on the city government’s 20% Development Fund (DF) has exposed city hall’s own folly and lack of sense. It further indicated the top city officialdom’s bad faith, if not outright dishonesty, and deception to the public in using the same nature of fund as an issue against the provincial capitol. The Tagbilaran government under Mayor Dan Lim did not implement the projects worth almost P28 million out of the city’s 20% DF during budget year 2010 when it was appropriated, according to the Commission on Audit (COA). The report of the findings of the annual audit for 2011 is yet to be known and obtained. Likewise, the COA found out that another development fund costing almost P9 million and allocated in the same year was instead used for a loan amortization. The fund ought not to be diverted and spent beyond its intent. This is contrary to Section 287 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 and the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2005, of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The socio-economic programs and projects were thus hampered instead of having them done to the supposed benefit of the constituents of the city, COA lamented in its report. These all came to be known coincidentally in the wake of the revival by the city mayor, this time together with Carmen Mayor Conchita De Los Reyes, of his tiring issue of the 20% DF of the province to discredit Chatto’s administration. The first-termer lady town mayor has been pushed by Lim and some of his allies who are “unfriendly” to Chatto to clash with the governor in the 2013 election. In press statements supposedly coming right from her, De los Reyes asserted that the province under Gov. Edgar Chatto should equally share its 20% DF to the 47 Bohol towns. Capitol said De los Reyes appears to be “spoon-fed,” if not made an “echo robot,” by Lim because this was exactly the same line mouthed by the city mayor when he “demanded” the same from Chatto in the past.
While Lim demanded---and now in chorus with De los Reyes---from the province to share equally capitol’s 20% DF to the towns and the city, the annual COA report could hint that the mayor must have acted dishonestly or not in good faith in his “hero-sounding” pronouncement. The COA said that for year 2010 alone, the internal revenue allotment (IRA) received by the city totaled more than P235 million, the 20% of which could amount to more than P47.5 million as development fund. Opposite to what he wanted the province to do, Lim did not tell the people that he himself did not equally divide and share his 20% DF to the 15 barangays in Tagbilaran, according to some barangay officials. Previously, captains Faro Cabalit of Taloto and Fredison Ingles of Dampas repeatedly assailed neglecting certain essential barangay concerns despite requests and clamor from their constituents. Calls for city hall actions on or assistance attending to vital community needs just fell on deaf ears apparently because they are not allied with the mayor, the barangay officials said. The COA noted further in its review that as of year-end, the implementation of some 20% DF-identified projects of the city with the allocation of more than P27.8 million were not started.
NO LAW MANDATES EQUAL SHARING
No law mandates the province to distribute its 20% DF in the form of shares, much less divide and share it equally. According to COA, Section 287 of the Local Government Code is only clear about every LGU (province, city or town) to appropriate in its annual budget no less than 20% of its yearly IRA for development projects. These projects are incorporated in the development plan and annual investment plan of the LGU. But despite the absence of a mandatory law, Capitol still has shared its development fund by assisting the LGUs, including the barangays in the municipalities and the city, thru projects funded out of capitol’s 20% DF. Even the town of De los Reyes has aids to the barangays from the development fund of the province, Chatto said on his Kita ug Ang Gobernador live broadcast Friday. Capitol also found Lim’s demand, which the mayor put into the mouth of De los Reyes, for DF shares absurd and awkward.
The governor said the city mayor himself has never ever submitted any project aid request or program of work to the province which should have been the proper protocol. While the intent and spirit of the law governing the 20% DF processes are understood by the barangay officials, some fellow mayors are on the other hand saddened that De los Reyes appears to have allowed herself misguided or misled on the issue. For them, not just biting the bait but “swallowing the hook, line and sinker” can mean a vulnerability that is feared to only proves her incompetence, too. At city hall, some employees dared hit their mayor for what seems to them his own limited grasp, if not intentional ignorance, of the 20% DF issue which caused him to resort to intriguing. They said late learning about governance is better than never having learned at all, adding that so much precious opportunities have been wasted by the mayor in spending airtime attacking fellow officials and people whose ways are unlike his. They said it shames as it is distasteful and disgusting seeing on the Internet and live steaming of his paid radio program the city hall chief executive falling into sleep and snoring right fronting his microphone inside the announcer’s booth. The government workers found no wrong in being just concerned because they are a part of Lim’s administration.(Ven rebo Arigo)