By Dhel Nazario
Makati City Councilor Maria Concepcion Yabut on Thursday called out members of the new majority in the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) for holding the proposed benefits for senior citizens by delaying in hearing the proposed ordinance at the committee level.
“The proposed additional P10,000 annual cash gift for senior citizens aged 90 to 99 endorsed by Mayor Abby (Binay) was not immediately taken up by the concerned committees after the session this Wednesday, as was the usual practice. I urge them not to resort to holding proposed benefits hostage to politics,” Yabut said.
According to her, a request to calendar the ordinance was already sent by her office and was referred to the Committees on Social Services and Laws, Rules and Ethics chaired by Councilor Marie AletheaCasal-Uy and Councilor NemesioYabut Jr., respectively, but has gone unheeded.
Because of this, the city councilor also asked why it will take her colleagues a month to deliberate on the 2019 Budget proposal of the city, when it could be done in two to three days, as in the past.
“The members of the new majority were also present during the pre-budget hearings conducted last July 4 to 30 with all the departments and offices of the city government. Thus, I see no plausible reason why it should take them that long to finish the budget review. It appears they are dragging their feet on this urgent matter, to the detriment of our constituents,” Yabut said.
At the same time, the former majority floor leader of the city council also cited that they insisted on using a smaller conference room to hold the special sessions, even though the main session hall was available.
“We owe it to our Makatizens to be transparent. Why do they want to hide the proceedings from the public eye? What possible reason could they have in avoiding a venue where their words and actions can be scrutinized by our constituents and the public?” she wondered.
Her sentiments were echoed by Councilor Armand Padilla, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, who also cited several instances when they required the council secretary to attend the budget deliberations at the committee level for the purpose of transcribing and preparing the minutes.
“That is not part of the duties of the secretary to the Sanggunian. Most of them have been long-time councilors; they ought to know better,” he said.