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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, May 12, 2011
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Dads fail to hold sessions;
no politics, governor says

BY MARICAR ARANAS & RENE GENOVE

Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Oriental failed to hold their regular session twice this month due to lack of quorum.

Records of the SP Secretariat show that only four board members were present during the two regular sessions. They were Saleto Erames (2nd District), Liland Estacion (1st District), Georgita Martinez (1st District), and Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president Scott Wayne Husain.

Absent from the two sessions were Vice Governor Apolinario Arnaiz Jr., board members Peve Ligan (3rd District), Edmud Dy (3rd District), Rotelio Lumjod (2nd District), Melimoore Saycon (2nd District), Erwin Michael Macias – PCL, and Arnie Teves – Association of Barangay Captains. Board Member Jessica Villanueva-Koppin (1st District) is on official leave of absence, secretariat records showed.

In his motion, Erames ordered the secretariat to write all the SP members, including the vice governor, to explain why they were absent from the two consecutive regular sessions.

But he added that the letter is “not mandatory” but only for clarification since there are pending resolutions and appropriations that must be acted on immediately before they take a recess.

Erames said he is not aware of any political bickering between the executive and the legislative body.

Estacion said she is worried because failure to have sessions will hamper the delivery of services to the people, especially those in the barangays.

She also denied the allegations that politics is being played in the SP, but refused to comment on the allegations that some board members did not attend the regular session as a boycott of the appropriations for projects requested by the governor.

Meanwhile, Gov. Roel Degamo said he wants to set aside politics as reason for the failure of the SP to hold its sessions these past two weeks.

He said there must be a justifiable reason for their absences considering the volume of resolutions and requests for appropriations that need to be acted on immediately.

He said he recalls signing a travel order for Ligan and Arnaiz for a meeting with Rep. Henry Pryde Teves (Neg. Or., 3rd District) in Congress in Manila, but he is not aware of any travel order for other members of the SP except for Villanueva-Koppin who is on official leave.

He admitted disappointment at the failure of the SP to hold sessions, because it will result in the delays of the implementation of programs, projects and salaries of the job order and project-based workers.

Among the important pending requests for SP approval are the P1.5 million for medicine assistance, P1 million for the assistance in crisis situation and P 1.2 million worth of financial assistance to district hospitals.

Degamo said he is not playing politics in any of his programs and wants to maintain a peaceful and harmonious relationship with the SP.*MA/RG

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