DioningBalite: off to bad start as incoming Vice Governor


Today is Philippine Independence Day but for the main part of this column I chose to write another topic that has also bearing to what is real independence.

In sports the champion is awarded with trophies. The bigger and more popular the athletic event the bigger the trophy is as in the international world tennis event or the national basketball association competition.

How would Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic , the two world acclaimed tennis champions feel if being handed the trophy they see that major parts of the trophy is chopped off? Will they be happy in coming home with it? How would the Warriors feel if having won the NBA (now you know who I am rooting for), the trophy that they receive is minus the legs or the head? May be they will be tempted to smash it on the heads of the NBA organizers.

That is exactly how Vice Governor-Elect DioningBalite feels after the SangguniangPanlalawigan voted to revert P3.62 million of the budget for 2016 of the Office of the Vice Governor to the Office of the Governor. There is just no cogent reason for the action except that Vice Governor Conching Lim, the incumbent until noon of June 30, 2016 lost her bid for another term during the May 9 election.

How else would we look at it considering that the year 2016 is not even half–way through? The explanation that it is savings is hogwash. That is redefining the meaning of‘savings’ without legal authority. No one can talk of savings until the year for which money is budgeted has ended. It cannot be reinterpreted even if the expenses of the funds as allocated are broken down into quarters.

Why would the present SangguniangPanlalawigan pre-empt the expenses of the new Vice Governor for the remaining months of the year? That is harassment of the highest level on the office of the Presiding Officer of the SangguniangPanlalawigan. And it does not speak well of the beginning and perhaps the rest of the next three years of the legislative grind in the SangguniangPnlalawigan which can impact on the administration ofand last term of Gov. Edgar M. Chatto.

This is a move of the SangguinangPanlalawigan that has not been well thought of. Had this been consulted first with Gov. Chatto, I am sure he would not have approved it knowing that any scratch in the relationship among the members of the Legislative Council would be a scratch, if not a hammer tong, on the performance of his last term in office as Governor of Bohol even if his political party maintains the majority in the Board.

I am surprised that Board Member Abel Damalerio rushed to sponsor the initiativecoming from outgoing Vice Gov. Conching Lim. The reverted amount of P3,620,000.00 comes from the budget for travelling expenses, janitorial services, and other maintenance and operating expenses which accordingly have not been expended for the first half of 2016.

So whose fault is it if the budget has not been expended. That is underutilization of funds that is a minus factor in the performance of Vice Gov. Lim. The SangguniangPanlalawigan should not restrict the official travels of incoming Vice Gov. Balite. Neither could they restrict the janitorial services unless they would like the SangguniangPanlalawigan to smell like a pig pen. These expenses could not be treated as if it was the ‘pork barrel’ of the Vice Governor. Besides, a pork barrel is now unconstitutional according to the Supreme Court.

I wonder what would happen if Pres. Pinoy tells President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte, “Digonghindikanapwedemagpuntasa China upangkusapinangmgaIntsiknaipagparayanalangang West Philippine Sea Islands saPinaskasinilipatkonaangperangpanggastosdyan. Mag text kanalangkaykay Xi Jinping.”

NOTES: Today, June 12, we celebrate Philippine Independence. But how can we celebrate something that is hardly in the consciousness of the people anymore? More than 100 years ago our forefathers shed blood and tears, many gave up their own lives just to see us self-governing our own country and nation. Today I don’t know how many of us remember those sacrifices so that we could be what we are today.

Except for an hour or more of attendance to the Independence Day program at the Plaza Rizal nothing is seen or has been seen that will show we still remember the First Independence Day and the real revelry that went with it.

The single proof that people value their political independence is the reverence shown by the display of the Philippine Flag. How many establishments are displaying our flag since the celebration of flag month that begun on May 28th? One or two may be. How many vehicles plying the streets are displaying the Philippine Flag, even if only for show? Again, one or two, may be.

That’s Philippine Independence for us.


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