Rama’s budget a ‘ joke, a dream’ Capitol’s 2012 budget up 13%-A A +A
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
CEBU City Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said the executive department’s proposed P11.8-billion budget for next year is a joke.
He, however, is inclined to support it.
In an interview yesterday, Young said the City, in its history, has never earned that much in a year.
“How can he (Rama), in reality, believe he can have an P11-billion budget? I think it’s a joke, but I am inclined to approve it and go along with it,” he said.
Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) said the amount can only be realized if the City sells lots at the South Road Properties (SRP).
“SRP is a prime lot and so many people are interested,” he said.
However, he said the City should wait for the projects of SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Filinvest Land Inc., SRP’s first locators, to be completed before entertaining prospective buyers. By then, the price of SRP lots will shoot up, he said.
During his term as mayor, SM bought a 30-hectare property at SRP for P2.7 billion, while Filinvest bought a 40-hectare lot for a joint venture with the City and 10.6 hectares at Pond F for P1.592 billion.
And since he opposes any sale and Rama needs the City Council’s approval to sell SRP lots, Osmeña said the mayor’s proposed budget will remain a dream.
“He is promising the sun, the moon and the stars,” said Osmeña.
He believes Rama is facing a dead end and is using the SRP for his political survival.
Meanwhile, Young said even if Rama had been the one to sell the lots to SM Prime Holdings and Filinvest, the City will only earn P4 billion if the two investors made a full one-time payment to the City.
Young believes the amount is the idea of then city treasurer Ofelia Oliva, whom the mayor has hired as City Hall’s financial adviser.
Young said he will support Rama’s proposed budget so the mayor can’t say the legislative department is blocking his programs and projects.
And if the council does not approve the budget, the vice mayor believes the mayor will blame the council for the barangays not having any projects.
“That’s his game plan,” he said.
Raising public expectation
Young told the mayor “to wake up to the reality,” saying Rama will only raise public expectation.
“In the end, it’s going to boomerang on him because it’s a cruel action on the part of the mayor, promising something that’s not going to happen. It’s like promising your children something that will never be fulfilled. In the end, it’s the people who will suffer,” he said.
Aside from infrastructure projects, the City’s 2012 budget will cover the third tranche of the mandatory salary increase for the City’s 5,000 workers.
Personal services alone will cost the City P1,440,019,485.
In Rama’s proposal, P5,769,294,521 will be set aside for maintenance and other operating services and P4,589,995,030 for capital outlay.
Supporting the proposed budget will be the P10.1 billion the City Treasurer’s Office estimates to collect next year, including P1.2 billion in real property taxes, business taxes and other local taxes; P750 million in non-tax revenues; P1 billion from the City’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share; and P7 billion from capital and investment receipts that will include sale of government lots.
The projected income will also include P1 billion in expected revenues from the Cebu City Medical Center, City Traffic Operations Management, Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor, the city abattoir, the city market and other income-generating offices in the city.
The Office of the Mayor will get a P306-million appropriation, on top of the P770-million budget for special projects and programs of the mayor, including expenses that the City’s special bodies and commissions will incur.
The budget will also cover the P100-million appropriation for the tax collection program of the City, among others.
Considering the budget’s amount, Rama, in a statement, said the City will have to intensify and enhance tax collection through a “vigorous tax information campaign and intensified tax collection effort.”
Also, the City will have to intensify tax-mapping efforts and decentralize tax collection by creating several revenue districts in strategic places in the city.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 18, 2011.