Proposal’s no joke, says Rama, but defers details-A A +A
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
AMID questions on how the Cebu City Government can fund the proposal of an P11.8-billion budget for 2012, Mayor Michael Rama said he will answer questions at the appropriate time: the budget hearing.
“I will leave the matter to the Cebu City Council when the budget hearing will come because this matter did not come from just anywhere, it was being discussed in the executive budget,” said Rama.
Rama also cautioned Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young against prejudging the budget and calling it a “joke.”
Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) has joined Young in calling the budget a “joke.”
The former mayor, though, expressed trust in the council, whose members, including Mayor Rama’s nephew Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr., are all members of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.
“The council is capable of sorting it out,” said Osmeña, whose wife, Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairs the committee on budget and finance.
Among the fund sources listed is income from various economic enterprises, which amount to P4 billion. However, the proposal did not enumerate these economic enterprises.
According to the City’s Statement of Monthly Revenue Collections, there are seven economic enterprises in the City: the Market Authority, Cebu City Abattoir, Fort San Pedro, Cebu City Zoo, City Condominium, Tubig Project and Cebu City Medical Center.
These seven enterprises have earned a total of close to P111 million from January to Oct. 15, 2011.
Regulatory fees from the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), City Health Department, Office of the City Civil Registrar and the Cebu Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Team (Ceset) have earned for the City P71.3 million for the same months.
Receipts from the sale of the South Road Properties (SRP) have earned the City close to P700 million.
“We’ll just wait if it will be approved or disapproved,” said Rama.
The essence of the “balanced, adequate, responsive and effective” or bare budget is that it will have a big coverage, he said.
The mayor, though, hopes he will not have to raise taxes to support the 2012 budget.
He will implement the projects of former city treasurer Ofelia Oliva, now his financial adviser, particularly on revalidation and tax mapping, which will re-assess real property and business taxes in Cebu City.
Rama also said he wants to involve councilors in the City’s fiscal management.
Osmeña also criticized Rama for preparing a budget without appropriations for possible obligations such as payment for the road lot owned by the heirs of Fr.
Vicente Rallos, the Roque Ting property at the South Road Properties (SRP) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue obligations from SRP.
Osmeña clarified he is not asking the City to pay, but that there should be ready appropriations.
Rama, for his part, said he still hopes President Benigno Aquino III would be able to help the entire Cebu Province on the issue of water.
When he first had a chance to air Cebu City’s problems to the President, Rama remembered that President Aquino was open to help not just the City but the entire Province on the problem of water.
Rama might revive the Carmen Water Bulk Project to meet the water demand of Cebu City, particularly those in the mountain barangays.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 19, 2011.