City Hall cuts 2014 cash aid to seniors

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014


CEBU City senior citizens will only get P6,000 as financial assistance from the City Government this year.

Mayor Michael Rama made the announcement during a press conference yesterday.

He blamed the slashed budget for the reduced amount.

The executive branch at City Hall proposed a P10.5-billion annual budget for this year but the City Council only approved P5.89 billion.

“If there's going to be an additional (income), it will depend on how things will financially improve because we have so many things to do, and hopefully with the council's support, then we can probably put (additional) amount but it's not anymore P12,000. We have to be realistic,” said Rama.

Ordinance

But the approved 2014 annual budget includes an allocation for cash assistance of P12,000 each to senior citizens.

“The amount of P720 million for the Cebu City Senior Citizen's Program shall be used solely as direct financial assistance to qualified senior citizens, to be released in
a monthly basis at P1,000 per month,” read the 2014 budget ordinance.

But Rama said the approved budget is not enough to cover the P12,000 cash assistance for each of the estimated 60,000 senior citizens in Cebu City.

A retired teacher waiting in line to air a grievance to the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) was shocked by the development.

Promise

“Pareho ra og gipatay ang senior citizens. Dili na maayo because the seniors are also in need. (It's like killing the senior citizens. That's not good...) That's his campaign promise,” the 61-year-old woman, who asked not to be named, told Sun.Star Cebu.

Retired City Hall employee Victoria Sariego, 65, said she does not mind the decrease. “Walay problema kay nag-agad raman sad ko pila’y ihatag (That's not a problem. I just accept whatever the City gives),” she said.

Sariego worked for 34 years at the Department of Manpower Development and Placement (DMDP).

Rama assured that all unreleased financial assistance appropriated last year will be processed immediately.

The City still has to release P2,000 each to senior citizens and persons with disabilities, as well as financial assistance for December for barangay officials.

But personnel at the City Treasurer's Office are still working on the renewal of business permits.

Rama also alluded to the slashed budget when explaining the revamp at City Hall.

He denied allegations that he replaced lawyer Jose Marie Poblete as city administrator because he was not satisfied with the official’s performance.

Rama named Eugene Elizalde, an engineer, city administrator and appointed Poblete city engineer.

He said it is unfair to say he was dissatisfied with Poblete, who now has to take care of billions-worth of projects this year.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 08, 2014.

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