January 14, 2007

City council secretary says:
‘Absence has effect on performance’

Sangguniang Panlungsod secretary Enrico Aurelio said that one of the elements in good governance is accountability, therefore, absences made by a member of the city council has an effect on their performance.

In view of this, the council secretariat has released the attendance record covering the period January to December 2006, where Councilor Christian Rafael F. Peralta had the most number of absences at 25. Closely following is ex-officio member and Sangguniang Kabataan federated President Althea Katrina F. Castro, with 23 absences. There were a total of 62 regular, special and budgetary sessions in the said period.

According to Aurelio, the attendance record had been based on the attendance forms and records of council sessions duly signed by councilors.

Aurelio also explained that councilors who had been declared late, on official business, designated officer-in-charge, physically out, on privileged leave, arrived after adjournment and on sick leave were not considered absent as he further mentioned that budget hearings conducted by the council were also counted in the said attendance record.

Meanwhile, Peralta, in a phone interview, said he has not yet seen the attendance record as he also stressed that the budget hearings should not have been included in the said record since it is not considered a regular session.

In addition to this, Peralta said his absences during regular session do not mean that his performance as a councilor had been affected, especially as far as serving the people is concerned.

“Of course there are emergency reasons why I might not attend the regular sessions. Ngem saan na kayat a sao-en nga mabay-bay-ak dagiti kalugarak. I also visited my district barangays regularly,” Peralta explained.

On the other end of the spectrum, appointed Councilor Edison O. Chua emerged with the highest number of attendance at 59, followed by Councilors Vicentito M. Lazo (52), Primo Jay S. Ramos (51) and ex-officio member and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Benjamin Cabacungan (51).

Ramos also had the most number of official business entry in the attendance but these were not considered absence.

Reached for comment on the issue, Laoag Mayor Michael V. Fariñas did not comment on the councilors’ performance for 2006 but said instead that the people should be the ones to decide and rate the performance of the councilors.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

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