Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Iba, Zambales. The provincial board of Zambales using its power of the purse during its session yesterday presided over by board member Renato Collado unanimously enacted for the second time an ordinance transferring the amount of P855,364.75 from the vice governor’s office to the governor’s office.

Zambales vice governor Ramon G. Lacbain II is left with P100,903.65 budget for the remaining 8 months of the year which is only .05% of the total budget under the control of governor Vic Magsaysay for 2006 at P191,478,984.75.

According to board member Jose Gutierrez Sr., chairman of the appropriations committee, “I have already lost my trust and confidence to vice governor Lacbain”. But he did not give further explanation what made him lost his trust and confidence.

“You do not have any problem, we just transferred your fund to the governor’s office and you can still get it by asking from governor Magsaysay” further said board member Gutierrez,

In 2005, the provincial board gave vice governor Lacbain a zero budget and this year after approving a budget of P3.5 for the vice governor’s office, the provincial board is transferring little by little the budget of the vice governor to the governor’s office every time the vice governor Lacbain had a conflict with the governor and the provincial board.

Last February 13, 2006 during its regular session presided by board member Jay Khonghun, the provincial board enacted ordinance no. 2006-09 transferring P7,824,000.00 from its own office and another P1,067,500.00 from the vice governor’s office to the governor’s office through ordinance no. 2006-10 despite very strong objections and legal issues raised by vice governor Lacbain who was outvoted by all members of the provincial board.

Not contented with the first transfer of funds, the provincial board again on March 13, 2006 during its regular session presided by board member Jefferson Khonghun enacted ordinance no. 2006-14 transferring P295,000.00 from the provincial board budget and another P750,000.00 from the vice governor’s office to the governor’ office.

“While the local government code of 1991 provides for a separate budget for the provincial board so it can maintain its independence as a co-equal body of the executive, I regret that in Zambales the provincial board chose to surrender its budget to the governor’s office and what is worse is they also want me to follow them”, laments vice governor Lacbain who was a former board member for 13 straight years.

Because of the transfer of funds to the governor’s office, every board member has to get the signature of governor Magsaysay for their vouchers and checks for travel, training, mobile phone bills, representation expenses, standing committee fund, among many others.

Aside from their vouchers and checks being signed by the governor, every board members gets P20,000.00 from the indigency fund of the governor and another P30,000.00 for their committee hearings from the governor’s office.

“Its’ been more than two years now since I had my conflict with governor Magsaysay just because I am strongly advocating to solve the problem of poverty in Zambales by promoting agriculture, fisheries, livelihood and tourism. More and more people in Zambales are becoming poor and poorer despite the fact that the provincial government is spending so much money for big school buildings, road asphalting, beautification of hospitals, gymnasium and capitol”, according to Lacbain who was a former spokesman in the Department of Agriculture under then secretary Edgardo Angara.

Lacbain further said, “if governor Magsaysay can afford to spend P20 million for each new school building why can’t the provincial government also afford to spend P20 million for irrigation systems? If governor Magsaysay can afford to spend P5 – 30 million for road asphalting, why can’t the provincial government also afford to spend the same amount of money for agri-credit facilities, for water pumps, for fertilizers, for marketing support, for year-round tourism promotions, for livelihood opportunities and for massive investments promotions to generate employment within Zambales?”

While giving vice governor Lacbain with a budget of P100,903.65 for the remaining months of the year, governor Magsaysay enjoys a budget for maintenance and other operating expenses including non-office expenses of P191,478,984.75 which is 42% of the entire budget of the provincial government of Zambales for 2006 amounting to P459,301,327.36. This excludes the budget for personal services under the governor’s office.

Governor Magsaysay has one of the biggest fund at his disposal for this year when compared with other provinces all over the Philippines which include scholarship – P15 million, representation – P3.5 million, donations – P2.5 million, confidential – P5 million, intelligence – P5.5 million, other MOE – P400,000, discretionary expenses – P180,227, youth & sports development – P2 million, women’s welfare – P500,000, indigency – P15 million, cooperative devt. – P200,000, provincial nutrition – P240,000, office of senior citizens – P240,000, disabled persons – P200,000, productivity skills for capability building – P300,000, SME devt. – P1.3 million, capital outlay for infrastructure projects – P40 million, 20% devt. fund – P70,490,951, 5% calamity fund – P21,332,493, aid to local govt. units – P7,834,400 and aid to barangays – P460,000.

Vice governor Lacbain is yet to receive the respective reply from the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Commission on Audit after filing his formal complaints last February 20, 2006 and February 15, 2006 respectively.

“You can go to the proper forum to fight for your legal rights”, according to board member Renato Collado and Jury Deloso as their challenge to vice governor Lacbain.


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