Gwen says P60M set for Balili dev’t

Posted on November 25, 2012


A member of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) inspects the coconut trees used at the Balili lot in this July 19, 2011 file shot. (JAY ROMMEL LABRA)

ABOUT P60 million was approved by the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) to develop the Balili property in 2010, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said yesterday.

She said the amount was appropriated in the item “Airport, Seaport and other Economic Enterprise Site Development Program”.

“(Vice Gov.) Agnes Magpale and the whole PB approved the provincial budget. We appropriated P60 million for it,” Garcia said in Cebuano.

Earlier, Vice Governor Magpale questioned why P27 million was being spent in reclamation work for the site based on information told to her by Capitol Engineer Adolfo Quiroga who said contract for that amount was already approved.

Magpale said the P27 million contract didn’t pass through the board and must be expalined to teh PB which is set to begin deliberations for next year’s annual budget.

Governor Garcia, in a press conference, said the Balili “restoration” work was sourced from the 2010 budget item that amounted to P150 million.

Rep. Pablo John Garcia of Cebu’s 3rd district said the budget item was higher last year since the Capitol also used that appropriation for the reclamation project in Cordova town.

“I think PB Member Arleigh Sitoy wants us to ask for approval from the PB everytime we want to use public funds. It’s already laid out in the appropriations in the provincial budget,” he said.

Pablo John said Section 306 of the Local Government Code states that ‘appropriation’ refers to authorization made by ordinance that directs the payment of goods and services from local government funds under specified conditions or for specific purposes.

“I assume Board Member Sitoy has already read and understood the Local Government code a number of times already,” PJ said.

When the Balili property was bought in 2008 for P98.8 million, Governor Garcia said the property would be developed into an economic zone.

Visayas graft investigators, however, said there was no feasilibility study made to determine the viability of the area for nan industrial zone or development plan before the purchase was made or geodetic survey to verify boundaries of the property.

The Capitol in 2009 signed an agreement with Kepco to allow the power plant to dispose of its coal ash waste in the Balili property under a $1 million compensation scheme..

Last August, the governor, five other province officials and two private heirs of the estate were charged with graft before the Sandiganbayan. /Correspondent Peter L. Romanillos

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