Next year’s proposed budget for Cebu City pegged at P13 B

Posted on October 12, 2012

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They received less than half of what they proposed last year. But this didn’t faze the Rama administration in Cebu City Hall from drafting yet another ballpark figure for next year’s budget.

The offices of the City Treasurer and City Budget Officer came out with a P13 billion budget next year or P1.2 billion more than what their original proposal for the P2012 budget was last year.

Acting City Treasurer Emma Villarete and Asst. City Budget Officer Mariette Gumiya said they finalized the amount based on last month’s five- day People’s Budget Consultation series.

Of that amount, about P6.2 billion will go to projects like flood control, drainage and disaster preparations.

But Villarete admitted that the City Treasurer’s Office can only raise upfront P5- 6 billion of the proposed P13 billion budget.

At least two top opposition officials, Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young and Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young, voiced their doubts on the rationale behind the budget ahead of its presentation to the City Council.

DEADLINE

According to the Local Government Code, local government units ( LGUs) have until Oct. 16 to submit their annual budget proposals to their respective councils or boards for deliberation and approval.

Villarete and Mariette Gumiya said the other half of the P13 billion budget or more than P6 billion will go to the city’s personnel and operational expenses.

The budget will be presented this Monday. Next year’s budget is P1.2 billion pesos higher than the 2012 annual budget requested by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama last year.

Villarete said the P13 billion budget had yet to be coursed through the mayor.

“This is still a draft. It is the mayor who will give the go signal. But yes, as of now, P13 billion,” said Gumiya.

Rama was reportedly attending a special “retreat.” Calls and text messages on his phone were left unanswered.

His staff said this was a yearly ‘ p anata ( vow)’ of the mayor whenever his birthday is fast approaching.

PRIORITY AREAS

The five- day consultation series held last Sep. 11- 15 was participated in by business groups, sectoral representatives, barangay officials, urban poor groups, and professionals.

All participants underwent budget and financing workshops, followed by the completion of surveys on what they believe to be the priority areas of the city in terms of Administrative, Social, Economic, and Environment Services.

The results were then tabulated by officials of the city’s Management Information and Computer Services ( MICS).

Projects for flood waste management, flood control and sewage or drainage systems topped the main concerns of the stakeholders. About P3.9 billion was set aside to fund these projects.

This was followed by social services such as hospital services, public education, and public health.

Villarete and Gumiya said about P1.6 billion was proposed for allocation to programs covering these areas.

This was followed by manpower development services at P1.6 billion.

POTENTIAL

The rest of the P6.2 billion will be used to fund both a comprehensive drainage master plan and its implementation for Cebu City.

About P159 million was also set aside for disaster preparedness and mitigation services.

Socialized housing will receive P550 million and public education such as scholarships at P370 million.

Also prioritized were public market administration at P290 million, public health and hospital services at P462.7 million and elderly and differently abled welfare services at P280 million.

To fill in the other P6 billion plus deficit in their proposed budget, Villarete said the City Treasurer’s Office held a workshop for its personnel on how to help raise more funds.

“The city has potential. You can see high rise buildings, developments everywhere in the urban areas. You can say that the city can really profit from this. Yes we can but we also need the public’s assistance,” Villarete said.

This means reporting establishments and taxpayers that don’t secure business permits and don’t pay the right amount of taxes.

MISLEADING

Villarete said they won’t raise taxes next year but only be strict in their collection.

Gumiya said they are prepared to undergo questioning by the City Council on their proposed budget.

Of the P11.8 billion budget proposed for this year, the council only approved P5.2 billion.

Councilor Osmeña, who chairs the council’s budget and finance committee, said the City Treasurer’s Office should make sure they have the funds in the first pla ce.

“( They’re asking for) P13 billion? This is not a wishlist. This is a budget,” she said in a phone interview.

Osmeña said the Rama administration is misleading the public into believing that they can have everything they ask for even if the funds aren’t there.

“You don’t go and ask people ‘ What do you want?’ You have to set the parameters first,” she said.

Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young thought that the proposed P13 billion budget was a joke.

“Here we go again. Where does the money come from? Where are they going to get the money?” Young aske d.

He also clarified that they didn’t slash the 2012 budget since the P5.2 billion was the only amount that can be raised by the city.

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