THE members of the City Council eagerly buckled down to work on the budget document submitted by the local executive head of the city, putting on hold regular sessions in the hope of eventually approving an annual budget for 2010.

For the past two weeks the members of the City Council, through their budget deliberations, have begun to carefully go over the various details of the budget document and for that purpose have invited the representatives of the Local Finance Committee to assist them in the perusal of the items contained in the proposed budget.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

Likewise in compliance with action taken during the January 11, 2010 regular session of the council, vice mayor and Presiding Officer Daniel T. Fariñas came up with a list of committee level assignments for the councilors to divide the work in connection with deliberations on the budget proposals of each department of the City Government.

Under the list of assignments the 28 departments of the city government shall be divided among the 14 members of the Council, to wit: Councilor Rocky Thomas Balisong shall hear the budget proposal of the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Regional Trial Courts, and the Sangguniang Panlungsod; Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda will handle the Mayor's Office and the Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO); Councilor Galo Weygan, on the other hand, will handle the Accounting Office and the Human Resource Management Office, while Councilor Perlita Chan Rondez will take care of the Administrator's Office and the Environment and Parks Management Office; The budget proposal of the Jail Management and Penology Office and the Baguio City Police Office will be scrutinized by Councilor Nicasio M. Aliping while the building and Architecture Office and the Engineering Office will be handled by Councilor Antonio Tabora; for the General Services Office and the Health Services Office the task went to Councilor Erdolfo V. Balajadia while the Veterinary Office and the Prosecutors Office was assigned to Councilor Nicasio Palaganas.

On other assignments, Councilor Isabelo Cosalan was given the task of studying the budget proposals of the City Assesor's Office and the City Planning and Development Office while Councilor Richard Cariño was assigned to the Budget Office and the City Legal Office.

Meanwhile, Councilor Fred Bagbagen was tasked to pore over the budget proposals of the City Library and the City Schools Division Office; Councilor Elaine Sembrano, on the other hand, got the Treasury Office and the Office of the City Auditor while Councilor Joel Alangsab was assigned the Civil Registry office and the Bureau of Fire Prevention and Safety-City Office.

Finally, the youngest member of the Council Councilor Gloria Ysabel De Vera got the assignment of inspecting the budget proposals of the National/Government/Non-Governmental Agencies/Organizations.

The City Council further approved that the meetings to be held with the departments on their budget proposals shall be within the week and that all departments must submit a breakdown of all lump sum appropriations not later than Wednesday to include proposals on additional appropriations, adjustments and reductions. Likewise the department heads will be the ones to get in touch with the councilors assigned to them.

As can be gathered the purpose of these measures is to fast track and facilitate the approval of the over-all budget for the year 2010.

Of course the caveat as provided by the Local Government Code is that the failure to enact the annual appropriations within 90 days from the beginning of the fiscal year would force the city to operate under a re-enacted budget until such time that an ordinance authorizing the proposed appropriations is passed by the Council.

On other matters, another proponent of an alternative solution to the solid waste problem of the city gave an impromptu power point presentation the other day in the presence of the head of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (Cepmo), Ms. Coleen Lacsamana and City Secretary Prudencio Parnacio as well as other officers of the City Council. The proposal from FuelChem Corporation represented by Magdalena Sabido is for the establishment of what they term as a "Diversion Plant Facility" in lieu of the proposed Sanitary landfill. The diversion plant is supposedly rigged to not only process garbage but in so doing profit from the processing itself. In other words the proposal is actually a form of business venture.

The proponent also aims to remove the existing garbage at the Irisan Dumpsite through various processes. Their guarantee as shown in their presentation is the elimination of 100 percent Solid, liquid, toxic and non-toxic waste in the City. The diversion plant facility, which they propose to establish, will be built by them at no cost to the city, and the removal of the garbage at the Irisan dumpsite will be handled by the proponent company again at no cost to the city.

I am in full agreement with that part of their proposal however; I am uncomfortable with the other conditions of their proposal which is the donation by the city of five hectares of land where the diversion plant will be located as well as another two hectares of land where the workers of the company will be housed. There is even a note in the power point presentation that the donation of the said parcels of land must be absolute. On top of that FuelChem Corporation will also require the host city to invite and allow other nearby municipalities to use the proposed diversion plant facility.

With those kinds of condition I doubt whether the city will favorably consider the proposal of the said corporation. Nonetheless the proposal has already been submitted to the office of Ms. Lacsamana for further evaluation and study.