Authorship Speech on the Proposed Ordinance Regulating the Charging of, Against the Current Appropriatons, Prior Year Expenditures

(Delivered during the 140th Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod held on May 31, 2022)

The Honorable Presiding Officer, Cecilia Veluz-De Asis, fellow members of the Sanggunian, City Youth Counterparts, friends and those watching online, a pleasant morning to all.

Year in and year out, the City Government of Naga, the Sangguniang Panlungsod, in particular, encounter frequent adjustments in various budget items, thus, reducing the credibility of the Annual Budget. One of those perennial practices is the unregulated charging of prior years’ obligations and expenditures to the current appropriation, by mere resolution, which results in the depletion of funds for the current year’s operations and overstatement of expenses that affect the fair presentation of the financial statements of the City Government.

In the Appropriations Committee, we are often faced with such requests without complete supporting documents or at least any guidance on what we should require to ensure that government procurement policies and processes are complied with at the time the expenditures and obligations were incurred, leaving us to decide on mere discretions depending on justifications made by offices concerned.

Thus, to further safeguard public funds, there is a need to enforce fiscal discipline by prescribing, by way of ordinance, clear guidelines and requisites prior to the issuance of authority by the Sangguniang Panlungsod and strengthen adherence of the City Government of Naga to:

  1. Sec. 305(a) of R.A. 7160: “No money shall be spent out of the local treasury except in pursuance of an appropriations ordinance or law.”;
  2. Sec. 350 of R.A. 7160: “All lawful expenditures and obligations incurred during a fiscal year shall be taken up in the accounts of that year.”;
  3. The Accrual Basis of Government Accounting which helps ensure that expenditure of public funds is transparent, public officials are held accountable, and future liabilities are recognized and planned properly.

With barely five sessions left before the 13th Sangguniang Panlungsod finally adjourns, I know this might be a hard sell – but I humbly dedicate this proposed measure to our three graduating colleagues and my mentors from whom I will continuously be drawing inspiration from as I continue my journey with the 14th Sangguniang Panlungsod.

The Co-Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the Honorable Greg Abonal, whose constant guidance and uprightness had always made me feel like a high school student and him, still our high school principal;

The Honorable Mila Raquid-Arroyo, whom I have always admired for her courage and eloquence, whose lonely voice in the wilderness of this august chamber will surely be missed;

And of course, the Honorable Elmer Baldemoro, whom I have often looked up to as a big brother here in the Sanggunian and from whom we will be hearing more from as the next City Administrator of the City of Naga.

Thank you, dear colleagues. I will always be grateful for this chance to work with such good examples.  As I end, in realization of the 3 years that is about to conclude, allow me to quote this poem from the prominent French missionary – Etienne de Grellet:

“I expect to pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”   

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