'Zero cuts' in proposed P4.8B Oro budget for 2016 sought

THE department heads of the Cagayan de Oro City Government convened to discuss and present to the people the breakdown of next year’s proposed P4.8-billion executive budget for the first time.

The Moreno administration believes that engaging the public through transparent presentation of the executive budget will be helpful to ensure the city residents and taxpayers get the basic services they deserve.

City Treasurer Officer Glenn Bañez said the initiative is engage the people with the administration's transparent governance.

"Para kayo na mismo ang magsabi sa City Council na ma-approve na dapat, na kaya naman natin. Mayaman ang Cagayan de Oro. Kaya nating mangolekta more than what is asked (This is for you to tell the City Council that this should be approved, that the city can afford. Cagayan de Oro is rich. That we can afford to collect more than what is asked)," Bañez said speaking to a crowd at Pilgrim Christian College Auditorium Wednesday afternoon.

Bañez disclosed that the city's money in the banks are worth P 1.8 billion and will go to waste if it would not be spent for the basic services of the Kagay-anons.

"Nalipay kita kasi maraming pera ang syudad sa bangko pero at the same time hindi rin masaya kasi hindi ito naibabalik sa mga tao for services (We’re glad that the city has more than enough funds at the banks but at the same time we’re not happy since these are not returned back to the people)," Bañez said.

Moreno proposed a P4.8 billion in October this year, signifying a 26 percent increase compared to last year's proposed P3.8 billion budget.

Lawyer Percy Salazar of the City Budget Office presented the previous budgets which were also cut by the City Council since Moreno assumed office in July 2013.

In 2014, the proposed budget was P2.64 billion but only P2.31 billion was approved.

The succeeding year also showed a P1.72 billion cut with only P3.08 billion approved from the P3.8 billion proposal.

"Ma-observe gayud nimo ang ilang pag-cut sa budget kay sa past administration, makita nato na kung unsa ang gi-propose, mao pud ang gi-approve (You will observe how the budget was cut because in the past administration (Emano) what had been proposed were approved)," Salazar said.

She noted that since Moreno assumed office, only the budgets under personal services were approved by the City Council ever since.

"Sama nalang sa terminal leave, retirement, pero sa other prioritized services unta, wala pa gayud, so far (Just like the terminal leave, retirement but the other prioritized services supposed to be, there was none, so far)," Salazar added.

Salazar said the budget will be fairly distributed to Moreno's eight-key point agenda such as poverty alleviation and peace and order (P805,659,902), revenue generation and resettlement (P717,297,488), investment and infrastructure (P1 billion), metropolization (P15,080,000), environment and education (P664,889, 612), health and hospital services (P780,088.940), agricultural productivity (P122,328,277), and traffic, tourism and teamwork (P509,856,942).

"Unta ma-approve wholly ang budget para ma apud-apud ug sakto para sa kalambuan (Hopefully, the budget will be wholly approved so it can be apportioned that would be enough for development)," Salazar said. For his part, City Councilor President Elipe said Wednesday that Moreno’s P4.8 billion budget proposal for 2016 is difficult to achieve if the local finance committee (LFC) and other heads of offices fail to defend and justify the budget which is currently deliberated at the city council.

“Mag-agad man gayud na sa expenses, but in so (sic) far as income is concerned lisud gayud ang P4.8 billion sa karon because ilang increases are not supported with concrete actions on how to achieve the targeted income (It will depend on the expenses, but as far as the income is concerned the P4.8 billion right now is difficult because the increases are not supported with concrete actions on how to achieve the targeted income),” Elipe said.

Elipe said that during the deliberation of the income, LFC failed to scientifically present the income for the next year.

But Elipe said the LFC is just trying to come up with estimated income that would seek out the P4.8 billion target but without the actual and scientific computation basis on how to attain the programs.

Elipe added the department heads did not submit the actual expenses for the year.

“How could you budget something kung dili nimo tan-awon ang expenses for the year? I’m hoping nga pagpa-tawag nila they will be able to comply as to how they utilize the budget for the year,” Elipe furthered.

The City Council is more than willing to support the budget, but Elipe said the administration should concretely support and justify their proposals.

Elipe also lauded the move of the members of the LFC who presented the budget to different sectoral groups in the city during the budget forum on Wednesday.

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