CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama's administration will realign P153 million intended for barangay infrastructure projects to fund the renovation of the Plaza Independencia, asphalting of roads and additional fuel for the city's vehicles.
City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva said the amount will also cover the renovation of the Executive Building's ground floor, where Rama will hold office. The renovation is expected to cost P5 million.
Since the City does not have new fund sources to fund the City's fourth supplemental budget (SB), Councilor Jose Daluz said they will realign the P153 million intended for barangay projects under the Local Development Fund (LDF).
Based on initial proposals, SB 4 will include P44 million for the renovation of Plaza Independencia, P31 million for asphalting of roads and P35 million for additional fuel, as requested by the General Services Office.
Daluz will also request for an additional P30 million for the City's medical program and P9 million for the burial assistance program.
"As the city treasurer already said, our financial position is still robust but we don't have extra cash on hand. For sure, we will be able to pay our obligations. It's just that we don't have the extra money for the new projects of the mayor, so we will have to realign some funds," he told Sun.Star Cebu.
In his news conference yesterday, Rama said he is not worried that the City only has P916 million cash in bank, when it still has to fund some P2.6 billion worth of supplies and projects for the remainder of the year.
According to Oliva's report, she expects to collect P701 million in partial payments for the sale of South Road Properties (SRP) lots and from the Internal Revenue Allotment share, so her office will only have to collect P985 million more.
But Rama is optimistic the City will collect the amount it needs to fund its obligations.
"You know me, I create and I came where I am today without having to make money as all or nothing, because I always believe that if you can have the idea then it can create acceptance and budget will just come. It may be from outside, inside or even national funding. So always think that it's not all Cebu City funds that you will be relying on. That is also why we need to have strong private sector partnership, because they will help," the mayor said.
The P153-million allocation in the LDF that will be realigned was earmarked for minor projects in the barangays, such as riprap works, construction or renovation of barangay buildings, construction of drainage systems and road repair works.
Of the amount, P75 million is for the north district while the remaining P78 million is for the south district barangays.
Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) did not use the amount to implement the projects during his term as mayor, saying he wanted to keep it intact for the next mayor to spend.
"The allocation was intended for north and south barangays but we have to realign it since we don't have funds. We will use this for asphalting and street lighting. The barangays should not feel bad about this because they will also benefit from the new projects," said Daluz.
The only difference is when before Osmeña left it to the barangay captains who sit as members of the City Development Council to identify the projects to be funded by the LDF, it will be Rama who will identify the projects this time, the councilor explained.
Besides, Daluz added, each of the barangays already got huge allocations for their projects earlier this year, with some getting as much as P15 million to P25 million or their projects.