THE Cebu City Government will be temporarily operating on a reenacted budget, following questions on the validity of the P6.4-billion 2016 annual budget.
That way, the City can continue its day-to-day operations.
In a news conference yesterday, Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella said the City will operate with the 2015 annual budget as their guide.
The City’s approved budget for 2015 is P13.4 billion, but not all items can be reenacted, though.
City Legal Office Chief Atty. Jerone Castillo cited a provision of Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code.
Section 323 states that “only the annual appropriation for salaries and wages of existing positions, statutory and contractual obligations, and essential operating expenses authorized in annual and supplemental budgets for the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted.”
On when the reenacted budget will become effective, City Budget Officer Marietta Gumia said it started yesterday.
This is based on their inquiry to Jose Salvador of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) 7, whom Gumia said has been tasked to review all budgets of the City.
In a meeting with the local finance committee and Labella yesterday morning, the effectivity of the reenacted budget was raised since it is also stated in Section 323 that if the council “fails to enact such (budget) ordinance after 90 days from the beginning of the fiscal year, the ordinance authorizing the appropriations of the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted and shall remain in force and effect” until the council approves the budget ordinance for the succeeding year.
Gumia said they were told by DBM that the 90-day provision is only the time given for the council to act on the 2016 annual budget.
City Administrator Lucelle Mercado said they have already asked Gumia to list items in the 2015 annual budget that can be reenacted.
Labella returned City Ordinance 2445 and 2446, or the budget ordinances covering the 2016 annual budget, saying it lacked the numbers to validly pass it.
In Dec. 18, the annual budget was approved in a 9-4 vote, but Labella said it needed one more vote.
Labella had invoked the Local Government Code, which provides that any ordinance or resolution authorizing or directing the payment of money should be approved by the majority of the council members.
Since the council has 18 members, including the presiding officer, the majority votes should be 10.
Labella then asked the council to tackle again the 2016 budget ordinances.
Councilor Margarita Osmeña said they will tackle Labella’s letter returning the 2016 annual budget during the majority bloc’s caucus today. It will be formally discussed during the council’s session on Wednesday.
Osmeña then said that when the budget hearings were held for the 2016 annual budget, not one councilor from Team Rama attended.
“Unya karon, ila ipabalik og (Now, they want us to discuss it again) discuss? Humana oi. Humana (We’ve already done that),” she said.
It will then be up to the executive if it wants to operate on a reenacted budget this year but for them, she said, the 2016 budget has been approved.