Drainage, lighting headline barangay requests

Posted on September 12, 2012

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DRAINAGE improvement projects, street lighting, traffic systems and solid waste management topped the concerns of 15 Cebu City north district barangays during a consultation with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday.

The mayor signed a “commitment of support” with the barangay captains who joined the event but said it was still up to the City Council to approve the requests.

Rama is scheduled to present to the City Council his executive budget on or before Oct. 31.

His chief critic, Rep. Tomas Osmeña, earlier said the mayor was engaged in “political deception” because aksing for the barangay’s wish list is different from balancing the needs of the city with revenue it can generate.

The council only approved P5.3 billion of Rama’s P11.8 billion budget proposal this year.

The council said the executive department may not be able raise enough funds to support its budget.

As of last month, the City Treasurer’s Office only collected P3 billion.

The amount already included P655.8 million from the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share and business tax collections of P1 billion. Two more consultations were held with sectoral groups late in the day.

Last July’s consultation drew requests like road and traffic management, education, drainage projects, health services and employment.

Ofelia Oliva, Rama’s financial adviser, said the outcome of yesterday morning’s budget consultation will be consolidated at the end of the week.

Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said the council supports Rama’s budget consultations.

“We will even fill up his list because a lot of people were also approaching us for requests on infrastructure, drainage, road asphalting and other basic services,” he told Cebu Daily News.

But Young said the council will have to prioritize certain items during the budget deliberations.

He said it’s the responsibility of the executive department to raise revenues to fund the city’s needs.

The vice mayor said the Rama administration failed to raise funds and instead spend it on unnecessary expenditures.

Instead of garbage trucks and ambulances, Rama spent P100 million for sports utility vehicles for his allies, Young added.

Young also said fuel allocation was cut across the board by half, a first in the city government’s history.

“Before it’s on a case-to-case basis…this is proof of Rama’s inadequate managerial skills,” the vice mayor said.

“Everybody knows that he (Rama) does not know how to collect money. All he knows is how to spend money,” the vice mayor added. /Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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