AFTER a long discussion that resulted in the amendments of several portions of the measure, members of the Laoag City Sangguniang Panlungsod unanimously approved the appropriation of P1,228,436.37 to be used for the purchase of a motor vehicle of the city mayor.
The official vehicle of the city mayor—a Cherokee Jeep—has been rendered out of commission since April this year, which called for the acquisition of a new official vehicle for the mayor.
Laoag Councilor Joseph Tamayo, sponsor of the measure, explained that restoring the decrepit vehicle is futile as he added that it has been established that continuous repair on the vehicle would entail more expense to the city government.
This was the reason the committee on finance, which Tamayo chairs, passed a measure on procuring a new official vehicle for the city mayor as this would be more beneficial and advantageous to the city government instead of pouring money for the repair of the old official vehicle.
Laoag Mayor Michael V. Fariñas has been forced to use his personal vehicle in his official functions as a result of this and the mayor is also spending his personal money on the maintenance of the said vehicle, specifically on gas, oil and lubricants.
The local finance committee has also certified the availability of funds for the said appropriation, which they said would come from the city government’s shares in the value added tax in the amount of P291,852 and the Small Town Lottery of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in the amount of P936,584.36.
Prior to the measure’s approval, Councilor Vicentito M. Lazo proposed several amendments with respect to Section 5 of the National Budget Circular 446-A, which should be strictly followed and specified in the ordinance.
Lazo also said that the specifications stated in the said section of NBC 446-A would be in accordance with Administrative Order No. 339 under section 1, paragraph A, sub-paragraph 1 on service vehicles of local government officials, which states: “For the use of provincial governors and city mayors, any four-wheel vehicle would not less that four doors and an engine with the displacement not exceeding 2,000 cc for gasoline or 2,800 cc for diesel. Allowable options are air-conditioning, AM-FM stereo and cassette CD players.”
Lazo further clarified that he is not against the measure provided what are stated on NBC 446-A and AO 339 would be strictly followed.
Tamayo accepted the proposed amendments.
Meanwhile, Fariñas wondered why there have been a lot issues raised on the procurement of his official vehicle.
Fariñas stressed that his official position and Michael V. Fariñas should be detached for the meantime since the vehicle to be purchased would not be for his personal use but would for his official functions as mayor of Laoag.
He added that P1.2 million appropriated would not also be able to buy a luxury vehicle.
“Narigat met nga ikkan iti mayor iti maysa a lugan a nakabas-bassit ket no ngarud adda bis-bisitan. I-konsider tay kuma met dagidiay a sitwasyon,” Fariñas said.
Dominic B. dela Cruz