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Operation of Misamis Oriental provincial gov’t halted as court orders stop to public spending

/ 10:14 AM July 04, 2020
Misamis Oriental medical workers attend to an arriving overseas Filipino worker at the Laguindingan Airport in in this recently taken photo. Photo by Jigger J. Jerusalem

Misamis Oriental medical workers attend to an arriving overseas Filipino worker at the Laguindingan Airport in this recently taken photo. (Photo by Jigger J. Jerusalem)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY——The operation of the Misamis Oriental provincial government was at a standstill starting June 29 after a local court restrained officials from executing its P3.5 billion annual budget for 2020.

Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano said the 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued by Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court Judge Vincent Rosales on June 29.

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It will expire on July 19.

Emano lamented the freeze order, expressing worries over the continuity of measures put in place to fight the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

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In a July 2 memo to all departments, Emano ordered the suspension of all disbursements until the court order is lifted.

Lawyer Jeffrey Saclot, spokesperson of the province’s anti-COVID-19 task force, said they have no choice but to suspend all activities relating to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Work on a 50-bed isolation facility has also stopped.

Meantime, Emano asked the city and municipal governments to bankroll the anti-COVID-19 response while the provincial government will continue to provide them technical assistance as that is what it can do at this time.

The TRO stemmed from a complaint filed by Vice Governor Jeremy Jonahmar Pelaez and board members Jerry Khu and Jessa Josephine Mugot on June 26 alleging that the preparation of the 2020 annual budget violated existing rules, and that the document was not posted, as required by law.

Apart from the response to the pandemic, also affected by the court order is the operation of, among others, the provincial jail which has 600 inmates, eight provincial hospitals, and the financial aid to indigents.

Saclot said the provincial legal officer has already filed “an extreme urgent motion to lift the TRO” on Thursday.

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