City Council okays only P5.9-B of proposed 2014 budget

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

THERE will be no increase next year in the monthly allowance that the Cebu City Government provides to the estimated 100 judges, justices, prosecutors and court workers in the city.

Mayor Michael Rama will still not get his barge and there will be no new vehicles for some of the City Councilors.

Drainage projects for next year will also be getting a lower budget.

All these after the City Council approved yesterday only P5.89 billion of the P10.8 billion annual budget that the executive department is proposing for next year.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairperson of the council’s committee on budget and finance, said they did not approve the proposed P10.8 billion, basing on the City’s realizable collection for next year.

Less revenues

Osmeña pointed out that for the past five years, the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing of the City showed that the estimated revenues for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 is always less than the actual revenues.

For 2013, Osmeña said the City has estimated a P6.4-billion income but the actual collection as of Nov. 4 was only P4.78 billion.

For 2012, Osmeña said the City collected only P3.479 billion when the City spent a total of P3.87 billion. This means that the City has a deficit of P394 million.

She also said that they did not approve the proposed amount because they did not consider yet the P5 billion projected revenues from the sale of lots from the South Road Properties (SRP).

The amount is projected to come from the plan of SM Prime Holdings to buy 26 hectares at the SRP, particularly the venue where the San Pedro Calungsod thanksgiving was held.

“Given that the sale of government property must be made through public bidding or unsolicited proposal, City Administrator Atty. Jose Marie Poblete noted that the processing of this transaction may take three to six months. This committee, therefore, assessed that the sale of disposed assets can only be considered a source of revenue when it is actually realized and therefore can be used to fund a supplemental budget,” she said.

Affected items

In an interview yesterday, Osmeña said among the items affected by the slashing of the proposed annual budget to only P5.89 billion are the increase on the monthly allowances for judges, prosecutors and court workers.

The mayor wanted to give P45,000 to the eight justices of the Court of Appeals (CA), P15,000 for the four clerks of CA, P35,000 to 23 Regional Trial Court (RTC) judges, P15,000 to 24 RTC clerks of court, P30,000 to nine judges of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) and P15,000 to 10 MTCC clerks of courts.

Under the approved budget, the CA justices will get only P25,000, P4,000 for the CA clerks of courts, P20,000 for the RTC judges, P4,000 to RTC clerks of court, P15,000 to MTCC judges, and P4,000 for the MTCC clerks of courts.

The city prosecutor will get only P12,000 next year and P10,000 for the assistant city prosecutors.

The regional prosecutors, on the other hand, will get only P12,000 while the assistant prosecutors will get P10,000.

No barge

Also affected by the budget cut, Osmeña said, is the P50 million barge or water vessel that the mayor wanted to purchase as well as the P7 million purchase of vehicles for the city’s councilors.

Osmeña added that they reduced the appropriation for lot acquisition from P100 million to only P50 million and the P600 million budget for drainage projects to only P400 million.

Osmeña then said that the items not included in the 2014 annual budget can again be proposed next year through a supplemental budget once other sources of revenues such as the sale of SRP lots will be realized.

Asked about the reduced annual budget, Rama, in his regular news conference yesterday, refused to issue any statements.

“I will just reserve the negative actions or comments. Let’s just be happy this time because its Christmas,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 19, 2013.

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