THE Cebu City Council approved on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, the resolution filed by City Councilor Phillip Zafra with regard to the City’s garbage collection and disposal program and the procurement of materials for street lighting for this year.
The council agreed to release P319 million, which amounted to almost 100 percent of the total budget, for these purposes.
City Councilors Nestor Archival and Jocelyn Pesquera pointed out during the deliberation that there is an ordinance that limits the release of funds for a certain program from the approved annual budget to a maximum of 75 percent.
However, Zafra sought an exemption, saying the budget was for what he described as “frontline services.”
The author of the ordinance initially asked for a budget of P325 million.
His original resolution included P500,000 for the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of the Department of Public Services (DPS) mid-year and yearend assessment; P300 million for miscellaneous services for the garbage collection and disposal program, including the salaries of job order (JO) personnel; P15 million for electrical materials for the street lighting program; P5 million for supplies and materials for motor vehicles, including the procurement of spare parts; and P4.5 million for other items.
Pesquera said the mid-year and yearend assessments are in June and in December, and the JO personnel’s appointments are good only for six months. So there was no need to release the full budget this early, she said.
She also likened the P5 million for the supplies and materials for motor vehicles to a cash advance.
She said the DPS might end up purchasing spare parts it doesn’t need and will end up with no budget to spend on necessary spare parts toward the end of the year.
Zafra, chairman of the committee on peace and order, argued that releasing the funds in full would ensure unhampered frontline services of the Cebu City Government, such as garbage collection and disposal, including the crucial services of the JO personnel.
He said the budget also covers the tipping fee, and procurement of cleaning materials and portalets, among others.
He said it is crucial that spare parts for the City’s garbage trucks are readily available to ensure their continuous operation.
Pesquera asked him to exclude from his resolution the P500,000 for the MOOE and the P5 million for supplies and materials for motor vehicles.
She also asked him to amend his proposal to release only 75 percent of the budget for the garbage collection and disposal.
In his amendment resolution, Zafra agreed to remove the P500,000 for the MOOE and the P5 million for supplies and materials for motor vehicles.
However, he insisted on the release of 100 percent of the P300 million budget for garbage collection and disposal as well as the P15 million for street lighting materials.
For the rest of the items, or around P4 million, he said the council can release only 75 percent of the budget.