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A resolution has been passed that gives Governor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates permission to sign and enter into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to help teen mothers in the province of Palawan make a living.

Resolution No. 225-22 was written by Board Member Ferdinand P. Zaballa. He said that it needs to be passed quickly because a fund has already been set aside and the people who will benefit from it are already waiting.

Asked if the governor had requested the authority to sign the MOA, Zaballa at first said he was not aware of where the request came from or if it came from the governor’s office. Upon verification, however, he found out that the request came from the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), which is in charge of the distribution of assistance.

Zaballa gave the explanation after Board Member Ryan D. Maminta asked if there was a request from the governor for the authority to sign the MOA.

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“It is indeed the PSWDO na nagsabi regarding the MOA because maraming kabarangay natin ang naghihintay nun,” Zaballa said.

However, Maminta maintained that there is a protocol where the governor will first send a request for an authority before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan can adopt a resolution.

He also said that while he is supporting the granting of livelihood assistance to adolescent mothers, he also wants to be sure that the governor is aware of the MOA that he will sign.

“I understand the supposed urgency of the matter. However, we don’t know the desire of the governor. And we likewise don’t know if the governor will sign the MOA if it did not come from him officially,” Maminta said.

“To the livelihood program for adolescent mothers, I have no objection, I am in full support of the implementation of the program. I just want to be 100 percent sure that the governor is continuing the program because that will only be conveyed to us through an official letter. I think we have to delay the approval of this resolution subject to the letter request being forwarded to the SP for necessary authority,” he explained.

Zaballa, however, countered by saying that he sees no problem and that there is no particular provision or law being violated.

“I am aware that all agreements and contracts being signed by the governor need an authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Wala naman sigurong provision na nakalagay doon at nagsasabi where the authority or who will be the requesting party be it the Sangguniang Panlalawigan or the Office of the Governor,” he explained.

“And I am aware that the authority is urgent. Nagawa naman natin ito sa previous sanggunian so I am requesting for a reconsideration and then maipasa on those three major reasons so I am asking my colleague to reconsider. I still maintain my position because sa tingin ko wala naman akong nilalabag na batas dito and I am just doing my job,” he added.

Board Member Winston G. Arzaga, on the other hand, said that while there are unwritten protocols, they can still go around them and “motu proprio authorize the governor, based on our plenary power.”

“This is one way of doing it, and the other way, of course, is to wait for the governor to ask for authority. But if it is something that is urgent, it has to be given attention immediately, then on our part, we can immediately authorize him and let the process take care of itself,” Arzaga said, adding that the question is whether the need for authority is urgent or not.

Board Member Rafael V. Ortega, Jr. also said while he thinks Maminta’s manifestation is the proper way, he is leaning towards the immediate approval of the resolution on the basis that they are not violating any law.

“As a matter of procedure, nakikita ko yung sense of urgency. At siyempre nandoon yung katayuan ni Board Zaballa na paninindigan niya dahil yun ang nire-request sa kanya. Kung wala namang mava-violate, I think yung manifestation ni BM Zaballa na payagan na para maaprubahan yan,” he said.

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