ANOTHER ONE FOR THE BOOKS: Pangasinan mayor turns town’s FB Page into trashy hate campaign platform

Tayug Mayor Carlos Trece Mapili

Political season, Philippine-style, it is!

A mayor in Pangasinan is now the object of online rants and condemnation after the town’s Facebook Page, which is supposed to contain informative posts and relevant content, is now filled with objectionable content and unacceptable posts bordering on hate targeting his political nemesis.

“This mayor has created more hate in the Municipality of Tayug than anyone else. His legacy will be long remembered as the worst mayor ever in the history of Tayug, Pangasinan,” commented one Alfred Lamena. Another commenter in the person of RedKail Espero hinted that, “Makuna pay la ngarod nga TIMPUYOG TAYUG daytoy nga FB Page no kasta ti post mo, Admin? Haler?!? (Where is unity in TIMPUYOG TAYUG FB Page if that is your post, Admin? Hello!?!)

Both commenters are referring to the FB Page named Municipality of Tayug, Timpuyog Tayug. The town of Tayug is a third class municipality in the 6th District of the Province of Pangasinan, and whose incumbent mayor is Mayor Carlos Trece Mapili.

He is the same mayor who grabbed the headlines on August this year for ordering a District hospital based in this town to stop its COVID-19 vaccination rollout as he claimed that the vaccination effort was not coordinated with his office. Hospital officials, however, did not budge as they insisted that proper coordination has been made for the said rollout.

‘BUDGET ASSASSINS’
The commenters were referring to the online rage and hate campaign of the town’s FB Page which featured in its post on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, a collage of the photos of Vice Mayor Lorna Primicias and five members of the Sangguniang Bayan in the person of Councilors Romeo Vidal, Jerry Adloc, Roland Fonacier, Mary Cabigas, and Al Godfred Gregor Allas.

Vice Mayor Primicias and Mayor Mapili both ran unopposed under one ticket during the previous local elections, but the two parted ways shortly after due to differences of opinion on various issues.

In the recent post on the town’s Facebook Page, it named Primicias and the five councilors as “Budget Assassins” over the Sanggunian’s disapproval of the 2021 Annual Budget proposed by Mayor Mapili.

The Page even made a collage of photos of Primicias along with the five councilors who supported the disapproval of the proposed budget allegedly due to various questions that “remain unanswered by the Executive Department to date”.

‘SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS’
The Executive Branch of the Tayug LGU has yet to answer various issues as to why the Sangguniang Bayan has not yet passed the budget for the year 2021.

This is the statement of Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer Lorna Primicias after holding the session of the Sanggunian Bayan on Thursday, September 23, 2021, in which the majority of its members upheld the disapproval of the 2021 budget.

Prior to Thursday’s session, Mayor Mapili wrote the Sanggunian on Sept. 16, 2021, stating that, “I strongly urge the members of the Sangguniang Bayan to reconsider its position and approve the 2021 Annual Appropriations Ordinance as it contains all the LGU’s COVID-19 containment measures as well as recovery efforts from the ill effects of the disease. ”

In his letter, Mayor Mapili stated that due to the Sanggunian’s disapproval of the 2021 budget, the Tayug local government is now only operating on the so-called reenacted budget which is not in line with the current state of affairs town due to the health crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

DISAPPROVAL
But even before this letter by Mayor Mapili, the Sangguniang Bayan had already written him several times to announce its disapproval of his proposed budget.

In its letter on February 8, 2021, which was officially accepted by the Office of the Mayor on February 10, 2021, the Sangguniang Bayan listed a litany of reasons in response to their disapproval of the proposed budget.

According to the Council, the proposed construction of a Multi-Purpose Facility with a budget of P20 Million, which the mayor plans to turn into an Isolation Facility, is not feasible because the area where the facility is planned to be built is flood-prone, corroborated even by the statement of MDRRM Officer Wilfredo Calimlim.

Further, the target venue is a geo-hazard risk per the verification made by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the DENR.

“For this reason, the same cannot be allowed as it is repugnant to the general welfare of the public whose lives would be unduly put at greater risk, not to mention inevitable waste of public funds,” they reasoned.

In another letter sent to Mayor Mapili on April 8, 2021, the Sanggunian even stated that the said construction is really not possible in the area identified by Mayor Mapili because the property they want to build the said project is owned by Tayug Central Elementary School and not by the local government of Tayug.

‘UNACCOUNTED FUNDS’
In its letters to Mayor Mapili, the Sanggunian raised various issues of unaccounted funds, one of which is the previous budget of the Municipal Health Office amounting to P2.9 Million under Dr. Ria Adora Loresto, who, accordingly, remains unable to properly account for and verify the delivery and availability of medicines supposedly purchased under the 2020 budget.

According to the Sanggunian, Dr. Loresto even reasoned in one of sessions of the SB that she is not in control of the supply of medicines but the Office of the Mayor.

“This disclosure on the role of the LCE on the delivery and supply of medicines without the knowledge or participation of the MHO, unduly renders inutile the MHO that is mainly tasked with the health and welfare of the general public. This cannot be tolerated especially during this time of the pandemic due to the continuing threats of COVID-19 that calls upon the LCE to empower the MHO with the actual delivery and supply of medicines based on its mandate,” it said.

The Sanggunian also questioned the realignment and disbursement of certain funds that should be for the benefit of the people of Tayug as part of the Annual Gender and Development (GAD) Plan.

The Council claimed that the Executive Department had revised the GAD Plan but it did not submit the revision conducted despite the request made by the Sanggunian.

According to the Council, the Executive Department also continues to fail to respond to its request for the LGU to submit a copy of the monthly cash statement, bank statement, bank reconciliation, financial statement and cash flow, report on revenue receipts and status of appropriation and obligation every 10th day of the month.

“The continuing defiance to comply with the submission of the requested documents, which are material for the Local Legislative Body to properly, intelligibly, and effectively exercise its power of appropriation, which is its delegated Constitutional legislative power, is viewed as an open communication from the Local Executive Body that the approval of the proposed Annual Budget for 2021 is not being sought from the Sangguniang Bayan, not to mention the manifest disrespect to an equal branch of the local government unit,” the Sanggunian noted.

In their letters to the chief executive, the Sanggunian also assailed Mayor Mapili’s failure in itemizing its appropriation under the 2021 proposed annual budget.

“Given this treatment of the SB, the submission of a line budget for the SB without any itemized appropriation will certainly engender much leeway and prerogative in the determination of certain disbursements for the SB, which is tantamount to an undue delegation of the power of appropriation and cannot be countenanced,” the SB further noted.

‘SOME MORE MISSING FUNDS’
The Sanggunian also questioned Municipal Accountant Joel Romero’s failure to explain where the P8.9 Million Tayug fund left by the previous administration went, which the latter said was placed in the Trust Fund.

The Sanggunian, in addition, also questioned the unexplained details regarding the disbursement of the 30% calamity fund of the town.

It claimed further that out of the ten (10) proposed projects for 2020, only one of them has been completed by the Executive Department according to the Accomplishment Report submitted by Municipal Engineer Edson Tandoc III on January 20, 2021.

“This appears diametrically opposed to the national government’s Build, Build, Build Program to pump-prime the economy in light of the adverse effects of the current pandemic to the economy. With this dismal performance of the Local Executive Branch in the project implementation, without any valid justification duly made known to the SB, approval of additional funds for projects without appropriate guidelines and actions from the LCE to ensure its timely and efficient implementation is like allowing the continued denial of the constituents of LGU Tayug with the infrastructures and projects despite the allocation of public funds…” the Sanggunian stressed.

As a result, the Council stated that they are not convinced that the Tayug local government used its budget last year correctly.

“To tolerate the Local Executive Branch to deny the SB of its oversight function vis-à-vis its powers of appropriation is tantamount to an undue abdication of such authority, which cannot be done. In sum, the undersigned members of the SB, in the exercise of their oversight functions, are not convinced that the utilization of the local government of Tayug’s 2020 budget was done in a transparent and proper way and that the same cavalier attitude can be seen in the proposed 2021 annual budget,” the Sanggunian explained in its letter.

Further, the Sanggunian had asked Mayor Mapili to thoroughly explain the utilization of the 2020 budget including all its trust funds in order to prevent a repeat in the 2021 annual budget.

SOME MORE COMMENTS
In the commentaries following the post, some irate members of the Tayug community had asked the Page admin not to use the town’s official page for political propaganda.

“Huwag naman po sana gamitin ang Official Page ng ating mahal na bayan ng Tayug for any political propaganda,” commented Malou Aguas.

FB user Dona Sevidal, who included the hashtag #TOXIC, after her comment shared the same concern, noting “Dear Admin, Tayugenians would appreciate if you use this Page for more important matters and informative posts”.

Another FB user by the name of Jeicel Joy Arana prodded, “Gawa kayo bagong Page para dyan (Better make a new page for that).”

While another commenter who goes by the name of John Mark shared, “Hindi lang inaprubahan ang budget proposal, budget killers na kaagad? Baka pinoprotektahan lang po nila ang kaban ng bayan (Just because they disapproved the proposed budget, you consider them budget killers? Perhaps they are just protecting the public coffers).”/iNews

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