Cebu City Council overrides Mayor Rama’s veto on 17 items in P5.2B budget-A A +A
Thursday, January 10, 2013
JUST a day after Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama announced that he vetoed 17 items under the P5.2 billion budget, the Cebu City Council overrode it yesterday during its regular session.
One by one, the 14 councilors, all members of Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), voted against the veto.
Rama’s allies—Councilors Edgardo Labella, Eduardo Rama Jr. and Ronald Cuenco—were not present, while Councilor Jose Daluz III arrived after the regular session.
When Daluz was informed that the session was over, he said it was unfortunate because he would have had several objections to the overriding of the veto.
In an interview with reporters, Councilor Margarita Osmeña, the chairperson of the committee on budget and finance, explained that most of the items that were defunded were travelling and training expenses and office supplies.
Osmeña said that based on the collection of the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) in 2012, it failed to reach the target of P5.2 billion, so for this year, the City Government has to prioritize expenses.
Most defunded offices or regulatory boards do not need to travel while the Human Resources and Development Office (HRDO) has the fund for training expenses. Office supplies will be taken care of by the General Services Office (GSO).
Rama said the same type of budget was prepared during the time of Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district).
“Does it mean they have become more intelligent because this is a repeated process?” said Rama.
The Council deleted the P11-million proposal for motor vehicle outlay for the police.
Osmeña said if there is enough money this year, it can pass a supplemental budget for the vehicles.
For the Squatters Prevention, Elimination, Encroachment Division or Speed (renamed Probe), its proposal of P3.2 million was defunded because it failed to appear in the budget hearing to defend the budget.
The P500,000 appropriation for the Task Force for the Protection and Welfare of Persons with Cancer was not approved by the Council because the appropriation for 2012 was left unused.
There is no sense vetoing the P1.6- million proposed budget for sanitation allowance prepared by the Department of Public Services because the Department of Budget Management (DBM) disapproved the appropriation for last year.
As to the P500,000 proposal for closure and rehabilitation of the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill, Osmeña said there is still a capital outlay appropriation of P1.2 million for the same item last year, which can still be used this year.
“That’s better than nothing, but it should be emphasized that they are not after the welfare of the people, but they are after my neck,” said Rama.
When asked for his next move, Rama said, “Abangan (Wait and see).”
He earlier hinted of having City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete look into the legal impediments of the approved budget by the Council, but yesterday, he said he has so many things to look into, such as the upcoming Sinulog festivities.
But Rama said he will continue to perform the duties of the mayor as he was able to beautify Osmeña Blvd. or create the Senior Citizen’s Park without the help of the Council.
As for his Public Information Office (PIO), which was not given a budget for the printing of Barugg, the official newsletter of the Cebu City Government, Rama compared it to an attack to press freedom because “PIO is media.”
Rama will find a way to continue Barugg, banking on people who he believes will help him.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 10, 2013.