Mabatid slams request to reduce JOs, Dizon claps back
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor Prisca Niña Mabatid criticized the request of Councilor Alvin Dizon to department heads in the city to reduce the number of job-order (JO) employees who are not considered as essential.
Dizon has requested this to the department heads during the supplemental budget hearing for the P4.4 billion proposed budget of Mayor Edgardo Labella.
He previously said that the number of non-essential JOs should be reduced so other programs could be given bigger allocations such as the programs on free medicines, livelihood, burial assistance, among others.
The request did not sit well with Councilor Mabatid who said that the last thing the JOs need would be to lose their jobs during the pandemic.
“I hope you realize daghang pobre ang syudad ug daghang jobless tungod sa pandemic. Maayo na lang makatabang ang gobyerno pinaagi sa trabaho kay gobyerno ray datu karung panahona even the businessmen are suffering from economic crisis,” she said in a Facebook post.
(I hope you realize that there are many poor and jobless people in the city today because of the pandemic. It will be better for the government to help by providing them jobs because during this time even the businessmen are suffering from economic crisis.)
“Siguro, wala ninyo na appreciate ang mga employees under a job order kay di man mo administration. Ang uban konsehal ga sige ra man pangita ug buslot sa gobyerno ug cge ug babag sa mga proyekto, pero diay to nanago kay hadlok sa COVID-19,” said Mabatid.
(Perhaps, you do not appreciate those job order employees because you are not allied with the administration. Some of the councilors are trying to find holes in the government and they block projects, but then they hide because they are afraid of COVID-19.)
She also claimed that the opposition floor of the council had repeatedly tried to block certain budgets that were necessary to aid the public during these trying times.
Mabatid: No need to convert JO budget
She also said that there was no need to convert the budget for JOs to other services because there were enough funds for medicine and burial assistance.
“You want to convert the budget for job orders to medicines, livelihood and burial assistance? Daghan pa man ta ug budget sa medicines. Naa pa gyud Malasakit Center to help the sick,” Mabatid said.
(You want to convert the budget for job orders to medicines, livelihood and burial assistance? We have enough budget for medicines. We also have the Malasakit Center to help the sick.)
“Livelihood and employment kay pareho ra na, so sakto lang naay mga job orders. Burial assistance kay naa man sad tay budget ana and so far na accommodate man tanan nangayo sa City. Patagaan nimo ug importansya ang patay nya ang buhi imong pa antuson?” she said.
(Livelihood and employment because they are the same, so it is just right that there are job orders. Burial assistance because we have a budget for that and so far we can accommodate all who sought the assistance. You give importance to the dead and then you make the living suffer?)
However, the council has long agreed to reduce expenditures during the pandemic as they have expected less taxes to be collected, and the city’s collection may not be enough to fund the budget.
The proposed supplemental budget is also sourcing from the remaining proceeds of the South Road Properties (SRP) sale of 2015, which is slowly being depleted.
Still, Mabatid challenged Dizon to go around the City Hall and the barangays to see the work of the JOs and how they had contributed to the pandemic response.
Dizon hits back
In a message to the media, Dizon clapped back at Mabatid saying his suggestion was based on his assessment of the supplemental budget during the budget hearings, of which Mabatid was absent from.
“I attended the proposed SB 1 budget hearing last week in fulfillment of one of my important duties as a councilor—budget fiscalizing. You were not present in the hearing,” he said.
“One of the recommendations I put forward to the committee on budget and finance and to the department heads present in the hearing is — if it’s possible for the city to reduce the budget for job order employees so we can allocate the funds to more essential programs and projects such as health and social services which should be primordial amidst the pandemic,” Dizon told Mabatid.
Dizon denied that he was “politicking” during the budget hearings and said he would never engage in such dirty tricks during a crucial budget hearing.
He only wants to maximize the funds of the government for meaningful programs as he said the city could not afford a “bloated bureaucracy” at this time of a public health crisis.
“Again, may I state that it was only a recommendation. Wala man gyud koy mahimo kung di ninyo dawaton ang akong sugyot kay kamo man ang naa sa administration karon. But I also cannot keep silent nor remiss on my oversight duty especially involving prudence in the use of public funds,” he said.
(Again, may I state that it was only a recommendation. I cannot do anything if you will not accept my recommendation because you are allied with the administration now. But I also cannot keep silent nor be remiss on my oversight duty especially involving prudence in the use of public funds.)
“Kons Niña, next time please attend the budget hearings,” said Dizon.
It is not clear why Mabatid has been absent during the budget hearings, but according to the Sangguniang Panglungsod attendance, Mabatid has not been present in the two-day budget hearing conducted by the committee on budget and finance.
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