Taking a risk-A A +A
Saturday, September 8, 2012
THE Cebu City Council has approved charging P6,880,986.49 million to the second supplemental budget (SB 2) last year to build a bridge that will connect two mountain barangays.
The council decided to push through with the construction of the Bonbon-Buot-Taup Bridge even though the Commission on Audit (COA) might disallow it.
The project is among the items funded under the P473-million SB 2 last year.
But the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) declared the SB 2 for 2011 inoperative since its personnel services allocation, based on its review, exceed the 45-percent limit set under Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code.
When a budget is declared inoperative, it is returned to the local chief executive to be adjusted, and the treasurer is told not to disburse any funds from that budget, according to a primer on the DBM website.
During the council’s regular session last week, Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. asked if the City could push through with the bridge considering the SB 2 was declared inoperative.
Councilor Jose Daluz III said the City has been filing motions for reconsideration on DBM’s findings even during the time of former mayor now Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district).
“Some of our budgets before have been declared inoperative, but we did not stop because it was declared inoperative. We still implemented our projects,” said Daluz, who served as head of the council’s committee on budget and finance during Osmeña’s time.
Daluz also said the City had questioned DBM’s finding that the City exceeded the 45-percent cap on personal services.
The City had said the DBM included in its computation waived items stipulated under the Budget Operations Manual for Local Government Units.
The manual states that the personal services limitation cap will be waived on some items, such as cash gifts to barangay officials, among others.
Aside from the bridge for Bonbon and Buot-Taup, the SB 2 covers the P5,000-bonus for barangay officials, as well as salaries of regular and job-order employees.
Councilor Margarita Osmeña, who currently heads the budget and finance committee, agreed with Daluz’s pronouncement.
Based on her inquiry with the DBM, Osmeña said the City just risks having the project disallowed by COA in the event that the DBM will rule against the City’s motion for reconsideration.
Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young asked if the City should take the risk.
Daluz said the City has been taking risks.
“This (bridge) project is a really good project. Since there is already a precedent, we might just as well proceed with this,” he said, to which the council yielded.
Daluz said the bridge will help residents in Bonbon and Buot-Taup, particularly in crossing the river when there are floods and heavy rains.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 09, 2012.