Rama still mum on budget concerns

CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.Photo from Cebu City PIO

WITH only one working day left before the year ends, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has remained silent about the Cebu City Council’s approval of the P25.8 billion annual budget for the year 2024.

Addressing concerns about his delayed response to controversies surrounding the budget, Rama said he will issue a statement at the right time, adding he may call for a press conference “first thing” in January.

“It is incumbent upon me to look at it from the point of view of the executive,” Rama said in response to queries regarding his stance on the approved budget, during the Sugboanon Channel’s segment “Ingna’ng Mayor” on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023.

The council has amended the previously approved P22 billion annual budget due to “typographical errors” during a special session held through Zoom on Wednesday, Dec. 27.

The amended amount increased the budget by almost P4 billion, from P22 billion to P25.8 billion.

Review needed

Drawing on his 31-year tenure in public service and four terms as mayor, Rama expressed the need to review the minutes of the budget discussions, highlighting the allocation for bonuses.

“Leave it to me, because as a chief executive [with] 31 years in public service, four terms as mayor, I have all the courses of action,” Rama said.

“I call it prim and proper public servant. I am a decent public servant and equipped with a lot of legal acumen in my head and much vastness of experience in matters of this nature,” Rama said.

“Give it to me, I’ll get back at the right time,” he added.

The approved 2024 annual budget is about half of Cebu City’s P50 billion budget for 2023.


In a phone interview on Thursday, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, presiding officer of the City Council, said if Rama vetoes the budget ordinance, the P50 billion budget for the year 2023 will roll over to 2024.

The council will also discard what it had earlier approved.

Apart from the capital outlay, Garcia said the maintenance and other operating expenses, as well as the budget for personal services from the 2023 allocation will carry over to 2024, if Rama vetoes the new budget ordinance.

Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, majority floor leader and budget and finance committee vice chair, said the Sangguniang Panlungsod secretariat will transmit the approved ordinance to the Office of the Mayor on Friday, Dec. 29, the last working day of the year.


Pesquera, in a text message Thursday, said Rama knows the consequences of a reenacted budget, especially with the upcoming Sinulog.

The majority floor leader did not elaborate further about the possible consequences of a reenacted budget.

In a phone interview before the start of the special session last Wednesday, Cebu City Councilor Noel Eleuterio Wenceslao, budget and finance committe chair, said they had committed a few errors in the budget appropriation for the City Legal Office (CLO) and Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) that led to the P3.8 billion worth of amendments on the approved budget.

First, Wenceslao said a typo showed the CLO’s allocated budget at P1,980,000,000 instead of only P1,980,000.

Second, Wenceslao 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.

Last Dec. 20, the council approved an annual budget for 2024 amounting to P22 billion.


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