Vice mayor says no politics behind non-release of Isabela workers’ pay

“WE WERE only performing our work as local legislators.”

This was emphasized by Isabela town, Negros Occidental Vice Mayor Renato Malabor Jr. as he explained their side on the issue of the non-passage of the town’s supplemental budget, which resulted in the delay in the release of the salaries of some 447 job order (JO) employees.

Malabor, who was accompanied by Councilors Francis Malabor, his uncle, Henry Foscablo and Jonnel Magallon in a press conference in Bacolod City on Saturday, November 20, said they have been asking the office of Mayor Irene Montilla of the list of the JO casuals and their contracts, which are necessary for preserving the checks and balance between the executive and legislative branches of government.

He said that they want to ensure that the people’s money will be used for the payment of salaries and are properly evaluated and reviewed.

The vice mayor said they also lack budget in the municipal council and spend their personal funds during meetings despite having meager salaries.

For his part, Councilor Malabor said since 2019, they have been asking the mayor’s office about the names and contracts of the casual employees, but they never responded to such inquiry. He said it was even brought up during committee hearings.

The councilor said the list is just with the Human Resource Management Office because every six months, the work contracts of the employees are being renewed.

“The list should come from the office of the mayor,” the councilor said.

Meanwhile, Foscablo said, “we are in a state of pandemic and we know how vital the workforce is but we want to have the list so that we can also assess if we will add or maintain the current number.”

“We are not politicking (and) we want that we are equally serving our people and let’s resolve this matter and eliminate the issue of politicking,” he said.

Like his colleagues, Magallon said they want to protect the people’s money and make sure that it will be utilized according to what is appropriate and proper.

He said that they conduct committee and public hearings to review the request of the mayor before they act on it.

Magallon, who sponsored an ordinance increasing the salary of the contractual workers to P100 per day, emphasized that he is supportive of the programs that boil down to good governance.

Montilla earlier cried foul on the non-passage of the supplemental budget, saying that the town council received her request for Supplemental Budget No. 2 on July 13, 2021, amounting to P3,393,717.28.

Of the amount, only P1,880,012.90 was approved, Montilla said.

The budget for the salary of the contractual workers was included in the request for Supplemental Funding No. 2, she added.

Due to the partial approval of the request, her office again requested the council to approve Supplemental Budget No.3, which includes the allocation that was not approved in the previous request.

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