City Hall cuts draft by P6.3B-A A +A
Thursday, October 18, 2012
THE Cebu City executive department proposed a P6.7-billion budget for 2013, way below the initial idea to ask for P13 billion.
Emma Villarete, who is in charge of the City Treasurer’s Office, explained to reporters that the earlier P13-billion proposal carried all the proposals from each City Hall department, lumped with the P6 billion “people’s budget.”
The new budget proposal is about 25 percent higher than the 2012 budget, but much lower than the P10.5-billion budget proposal last year.
“We wanted to be realistic with the feasibility of the projects that can be implemented within the year. We were also forthcoming with the mayor (Michael Rama) on the amount that we can actually collect,” Villarete told reporters yesterday.
A summary of the budget was released but the thick final proposal is already with the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) secretariat. Secretary Cynthia Kahulugan would not yet release the final copy of the proposal to the media until all members of the Cebu City
Council will be furnished copies.
According to the budget summary, the City’s projected income is P6.76 billion.
Expenditures were projected to be a bit less, at P6.716 billion. These were divided into four: personal services, maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), capital outlay, and financial expenses.
The bulk of the City Government expenses is for MOOE with a total of P3.364 billion. This involves the daily operations of the local government.
Capital outlay or infrastructure projects were allocated P907 million, while financial expenses were pegged at P610 million.
Under the MOOE is the financial aid for senior citizens, with a total of P600 million.
Villarete said this already carried Rama’s promise of P10,000 financial assistance to each senior citizen in the city by next year.
Cebu City’s scholars will also get an increase in their allowance from P1,000 a year to P1,000 per semester, if the proposal is approved as is.
The total amount proposed for the Cebu City Scholarship Program is P300 million.
The biggest revenue source is the tax revenue expected to reach P1.760 billion for 2013. The Internal Revenue Allotment share of the City is also projected to reach over a billion.
The City expects P1 billion from its joint venture with the Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) for the condominiums in the South Road Properties (SRP), as well as P650 million from the sale of government lots to SM Prime Holdings Inc. and FLI, also in the SRP.
Villarete also said the City Government is expecting to sell Block 27 at the North Reclamation Area and over two hectares of prime property in Lahug, near the Waterfront Hotel and the Asiatown IT Park.
Both properties are expected to generate an income of about P734 million.
The proposed discretionary fund of the mayor is just P5.584 million. This used to be among the most controversial items when the executive proposed the 2012 budget.
Last year, the executive proposed a discretionary fund of about P25 million but only P500,000 was approved by the Cebu City Council.
Other items under the MOOE include the P100-million garbage disposal fee, which represents the tipping fee at the Consolacion dumping site and P800 million aid to city barangays.
Just before he left for Rome yesterday, Rama was prodded by reporters on the smaller-than-expected budget when the mayor is fond of making a “balanced, adequate, responsive and efficient” or Bare budget.
“They (local finance committee) will take care of that. The budget has been deliberated upon...at least it is higher than what was approved before,” said Rama.
When asked if the budget will be enough for Cebu City, Rama said, “It will never be enough.”
The mayor’s financial adviser, Ofelia Oliva, commented that the P6.7 budget is enough. Anyway, there is no limit to the passage of supplemental budgets.
“As a start, it’s okay,” said Oliva.
Incidentally, the Council will conduct a budget hearing today on the proposed third supplemental budget for the year, which carries the honorarium for the Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN) people.
As to the proposed annual budget, there are six departments under special accounts with a total appropriation of P851.6 million.
Among the departments, the account for hospitals has the biggest budget with P379 million. This will be used for the operations of the Cebu City Medical Center and the Guba Community Hospital.
The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) was appropriated P141 million, while city market operations were appropriated P52.6 million.
The abattoir has a proposed budget of P22.6 million, P21 million for the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) and P11 million for the Cebu City Resource Management and Development Center (Cremdec).
Villarete explained that the local finance committee did not include projects that did not have proper planning.
She said that projects that did not make the final cut of the 2013 budget proposal will have to be planned properly and if possible, undergo feasibility study.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 18, 2012.