GenSan prepares for assumption of new mayor

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 June) —  After being dominated by a single political bloc for 15 years or five straight terms, the city government has started its transition for the assumption next week of the city’s new leadership.

Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, who lost her reelection bid in the May 13 elections, formally turned over on Monday the city government’s accountabilities, inventories and other vital documents and records to outgoing city councilor and mayor-elect Ronnel Rivera as part of the transition process.

The two officials met for the first time after last month’s polls at the city mayor’s office conference room to organize the transition teams.

Custodio said the turnover of the city’s accountabilities and other records is in compliance with the provisions of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2013-33 issued by Secretary Mar Roxas last April 18.

The DILG memorandum specifically provided for the creation of local government transition teams to ensure the smooth turnover and assumption to office of newly-elected and reelected local government officials.

Prior to  Monday’s formal turnover, Custodio said the transition teams of both parties held formal discussions in the last two weeks to facilitate the process.

In his memorandum circular, Roxas noted that the transition teams are needed to ensure “continuity in local governance” and prepare for the effective turnover of all LGU concerns to the incoming officials as set by noon of June 30.

Aside from ensuring smooth local governance transaction, the teams are tasked to conduct an inventory of all real, immovable and movable properties of LGUs; assemble all documents or records; turn over all accountabilities; and, organize the turnover ceremonies.

The transition teams will be headed by the local chief executive and composed of all department heads as well as representatives from the DILG, Commission on Audit (COA) and non-government and peoples organizations.

Rivera said his transition team will initially evaluate the records and documents submitted by the city’s transition team.

“(Our team) will study them first and then discuss their details in a joint meeting on Friday,” he said in an interview over TV Patrol Socsksargen.

Rivera said they will specifically look into the city’s cash flow, disbursement records and other related financial documents.

“After the evaluation process, we will come up with a six-month financial plan for the city,” he said.

Rivera, who was elevated to the city’s top post last May under the platform of change, said he does not see any major changes as to the leadership of the city’s mayor departments and offices.

He noted that most city department heads are career government workers and would not have lasted long in their posts if they were not qualified or had not performed well.

“They are career employees, they can manage their jobs. For us, we’ll try our best to work with them and I don’t think that would be a problem since I also have some experience working in the private sector,” he said.

Rivera, who won as the city’s top councilor despite running as an independent in his political debut in 2010, convincingly won over Custodio in the May polls.

Rivera, son of a local tuna fishing magnate, ran under Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao’s political party People’s Champ Movement and the United Nationalist Alliance coalition.

Custodio bannered the administration-backed Liberal Party-Achiever’s with Integrity Movement slate, which has dominated the local political scene since the 1998 elections. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)