SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET #1, for P67.589 million (general fund) and P12.090 million (special accounts), was passed on third and final reading by the City Council Wednesday, March 29, 2023. That was not unexpected.

The surprise was that the P15,000 cash due to each City Hall employee, about 5,000 of them, may be released not later than April 5. To a treasury generally noted for delays in paying out money, that would be a record of sort.

Councilor Noel Wenceslao, chairman of the committee on finance, moved for the approval, with the all the members present seconding it. Majority Floor Leader Joy Pesquera tacked on the deadline for cash release.

NO-BANANAS SYNDROME. Last March 8, 2023, Cebu City Council Minority Floor Leader Nestor Archival Sr. was asking Engr. Jonathan Tumulak of the city's Department of Engineering and Public Works on the progress of work on the Cebu City Medical Center's new 10-story building: (1) if there were building plans, as the councilors had been asking for them and none was submitted to the Sanggunian, and (2) if the said plans were complete.

Archival: From what you said, it's complete but it's not.

Tumulak: Yes.

Archival: Is it complete or it's (is it) not?

Tumulak: The general structure, Mr. Chair.

Archival: Yeah, but it's not complete.

Tumulak: Yes.

Archival: It's not complete, but before that (on another thing)...

A bit confusing, for it required re-reading/listening by the public to be sure what Engr. Tumulak said and meant. One may sort it out thus: Plans for the entire structure were complete but those plans lacked details. Is it or is it not complete, Councilor Archival asked more than once. Yes, answered the engineer -- with the qualifier "but" delayed and played far from the word it was supposed to qualify.

Back in school, we were told that was a problem in communicating and understanding, notably among Filipinos. Some people call it "No-banana Syndrome." Like, "Yes, we have no bananas today."

VECO ASKED TO CONSIDER PREPAID METERING. In March 2017, Meralco applied for approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission on the power company's advanced metering system called AMI: prepaid electricity, which "provides customers with daily updates on electricity consumption and on remaining load via SMS and sends an alert when the load balance falls to a low level." Just like a cell-phone load.

Councilor Archival's resolution, submitted to the City Council Wednesday, March 29, 2023, would ask Veco to submit in 15 days after notice on the possibility of prepaid electricity service.

Veco might meet the deadline but here's a dampener. On Meralco's application, filed in 2017, ERC announced on February 6, 2019 that it was "currently evaluating the cost implications" of advanced metering system.

Meralco estimated the saving from reduced power use at "up to 20 percent or as much as P400 a month, thanks to improved monitoring." But ERC said some amount will be added to the customers electric bills if Meralco's AMI is adopted.

It's not known what resulted from that 2019 study although earlier, in May 2013, ERC was reported as having as having approved a 40,000-meter pilot.

MOVE TO HONOR ERNESTO HERRERA. Councilor Dondon Hontiveros, one of the three authors, withdrew for Councilors Joel Garganera, Pastor Alcover Jr. and himself the ordinance that would rename Andres Bonifacio St. after the late senator Ernesto Herrera.

Hontiveros didn't give any reason and was not asked in Wednesday's (March 29, 2023) session of the City Council. He could've moved to defer the measure if any requirement has not been met yet. The mystery made some City Hall watchers sit up and ask why.

"Boy" Herrera died on October 29, 2015 at 73. Born in Samboan, Cebu, he briefly stayed with his family in Calape, Bohol before moving to Cebu City, in Barangay Day-as, at D. Jakosalem and Bonifacio Sts. He was educated at Zapatera Elementary School, then at the University of the Visayas where he finished high school and law school. Handicapped with polio since he was a child, which made his success more outstanding, Herrera rose to prominence as labor leader: as secretary-general and president of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, he was considered a "labor titan." He was a member of the Agrava Commission that investigated the 1983 murder of Benigno Aquino Jr. and as a senator.

CCMC UNIT, GUBA LOT FOR MENTAL FACILITY. An ordinance filed by Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos would create a "behavioral unit" at the Cebu City Medical Center: with two psychologists and three psychiatrists leading the unit's staff.

A resolution filed by Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera would ask Mayor Mike Rama to allocate at least one hectare of land in Barangay Guba for a mental health facility. Both measures have sailed the initial route of legislation.

The plan for the facility is indicated in the request but there are no specifics yet on how the possible hospital or clinic will be funded and when it will be built.

What's not known from the two proposals is the number of people afflicted with mental disorder in Cebu City. Pesquera mentioned only World Health Organization estimate: at any given time, 10 percent of adults suffer from it and 25 percent develop the illness "at some point in their lives." De los Santos said the CCMC behavioral unit will "address the growing mental health needs" in the city.

But both councilors obviously recognize that Cebu City could have, if it doesn't have yet, its share of the world's nuts and crackpots.