THE Zambaonga City Government has increased its annual budget for 2017 by 11 percent compared to last year with a total amount of P3.127 billion

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, in her 10th State of the City Address (Soca) said the figure was derived from the participatory efforts of all stakeholders, various civil society organization and the 98 city barangays.

“It is outlined from the ideals of inclusive development. This annual budget is the city’s fiscal manual for 2017, zealously put together by means of the City Government’s aggressive budget reforms and combined with fiscal transparency, integrity and accountability,” Salazar said in her Soca held Tuesday, January 10.

She said this year’s budget is guided by the norm of correct spending namely: spending within means, investing in the right priorities, and delivering measurable results.

“Empowerment of our people begins by citizen participation that ensures it is ‘a budget of the people and for the people’ especially made possible through the Bottom Up Budgeting which starts with priorities identified in the grassroots level and would work its way up,” the mayor said.

She thanked the members of the City Council and Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde for voting in favor of the 2017 Budget Ordinance.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Soca broke the tradition of the previous years as only the mayor has reported the local government accomplishments.

In previous years, the two representatives of Zamboanga City - first and second districts - were allowed to deliver their accomplishment reports.

“Section 455 of the Local Government Code states that the City Mayor shall present the program of government and proposed policies and projects for the consideration of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) at the opening of the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod every calendar year,” she explained.

First District Representative Celso Lobregat said “to set the records straight” he will address the people of this city and publicly deliver his report next week. (Bong Garcia/Sunnex)