WITH Cebu City’s budget hearing halfway through, several City Hall departments have been instructed to focus on essential projects to reduce the amount of their proposals due to the possibility that the proposed P100 billion budget for 2024 might be slashed.
In an interview on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, City Councilor Noel Wenceslao, chairman of the committee on budget and finance, said half of the 36 departments and offices have already presented their proposals.
Wenceslao said several departments proposed bigger budgets for next year compared to 2023.
He cited the 100 percent increase in the Management Information and Computer Services’ (Mics) proposal.
Wenceslao said the increase for next year is notable, but they have to decide after the hearing how much they can provide to each department.
“After the budget hearing, that’s the time we can tell how much we could give to them,” he said.
He said they have to ask each department to sacrifice unnecessary items and come up with an exact amount that it will need next year to operate given that the City only collected around P8 billion of the P50 billion annual budget approved for this year.
However, he still hopes next year’s collection will be efficient given the full implementation of the Strategic Assessment for Your Assets and Worth (Sayaw) sa Buhis.
He said the City is expecting to collect more revenue through the Sayaw sa Buhis, adding that the real property tax is but one of the fund sources.
On Monday, Mics’ submitted its proposed budget for 2024, which is P409,092,960. Its budget this year is P206,347,310.
Meanwhile, the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor’s proposed budget for 2024 is P179,272,468. Its budget this year is P145,096,787.
During the second day of the budget hearing last Tuesday, Nov. 14, the City Planning and Development Office submitted its proposed budget for 2024, which is P161 million, or P20 million more than its budget this year.
The City Administration Office’s proposed budget is P21.63 million, compared to this year’s P14.58 million.
The departments and offices that have already presented their budget proposals include the Local Finance Committee, Human Resources Development Office, Internal Audit Services Office as well as the Office of the Mayor and the special bodies or programs under its office.
The special bodies or programs include the Office of the Senior Citizens, South Road Properties Management Office, Scholarship Committee, Local Youth Development Office, Barangay Affairs Office, Sports Development Commission, Cultural and Historical Affairs Office, and Cebu Tourism Office.
The marathon budget hearing started on Monday, Nov. 13, kicked off by the discussion on the Local Finance Committee’s proposed budget of P100 billion.
Wenceslao said they hope the hearing will end on Friday, Nov. 24.
He said they still have to make a committee report on what transpired during the hearing.
Mayor Michael Rama earlier said he is optimistic that Cebu City will achieve the proposed P100 billion budget for 2024 as soon as the Real Property Tax Code is revised.