Mayor ‘mum’ on ‘24 annual budget
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Mayor ‘mum’ on ‘24 annual budget

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama claims he has yet to receive a copy of the approved 2024 annual budget ordinance.

This was his reaction when asked if he had reviewed the minutes of the deliberations for the 2024 budget and the ordinance during an online program interview on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024.

What is there to review without the documents, the mayor replied.

Rama said he wanted to be sure in his reactions, especially since the annual budget was amended.

The City Council approved P25 billion for the 2024 annual budget instead of the P100 billion proposed by the executive department.

In earlier interviews, Rama had expressed the need to review the minutes of the budget discussions, highlighting the allocation for bonuses.

However, Council Secretary Charisse Piramide, through a Messenger chat, said they already transmitted the approved ordinance to the executive department on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

The council approved the 2024 budget ordinance during its last regular session for 2023 on Dec. 27.

Piramide said it took them three business days to transmit the approved ordinance to the executive department as they had to have the ordinance signed by Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia.

She said they submitted the ordinance to Garcia’s office on Dec. 29, but the document was only returned to them on Jan. 2.

On the same day, Piramide said they transmitted the ordinance to the mayor’s office.

Based on the document obtained by SunStar Cebu, some of the items which got big chunks of the annual budget include the Palarong Pambansa, which the City is hosting in July, with P200 million; Sinulog activities with P80 million; lot acquisition for social housing with P518.9 million; and comprehensive climate change adaptation and mitigation projects with P238 million, among others.

The council initially approved an annual budget amounting to P22 billion on Dec. 20.

However, the council later amended the amount after it detected a few errors in the budget appropriation for the City Legal Office (CLO) and the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) that led to the P3.8 billion worth of amendments on the approved budget.

First, a typographical error showed CLO’s allocated budget at P1,980,000,000, instead of only P1,980,000.

Second, City Councilor Noel Wenceslao, committee on budget and finance chairman, said the law specifies a fund of five percent of the estimated revenue for the LDRRMF which should have been P5 billion from the City’s revenue estimate of P100 billion. Yet, the ordinance reflected a lower allocation of only P1 billion. / JJL, AML

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