Budget cuts irks city council

Posted on October 20, 2012


The P6.7 billion budget proposed by the Cebu City mayor for 2013 may escalate the conflict between his office and the City Council ahead of next year’s election.

Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said he wondered how the council can function well without office supplies and a budget for advertisements or publication of approved ordinances with the drastic cuts proposed in the city council’s budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE).

“Let it be on record that Mayor Rama started this,” Young said.

“The council has always been holding our punches. We could have done more to his (2012) budget but we did not because we did not want to hamper services,” Young said.

This time, he declared, “we will retaliate.”

While major budget items in the City Council were reduced, some to zero, some budget items in the office of the mayor showed marked increases (see table).

“The LFC (Local Finance Committee) told us that it was the mayor himself who ordered to have some items in our budget reduced to zero” said Young.

Items for consultancy services, advertising expenses, other supplies and materials and capital outlay which were funded in the 2012 budget were scrapped altogether in the 2013 executive budget submitted by the mayor.

Mayor Rama is in Rome to attend the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Councilor Margot Osmeña said advertising, for example, was a basic need for the city council.

“If there is no budget for advertising, there will be no publication of approved ordinances in local newspapers, meaning, these ordinances may not validly take effect,” she said.

But Osmeña said she doesn’t want to worry yet about the 2013 executive budget because the council is still deliberating on the mayor’s request for a P267 million supplemental budget II, which had a budget budget hearing on Thursday.

Mayor Rama’s propposed 2013 city budget showed he wants the budget of his office increased, especially for consultancy services, travel expenses and public information.

The outlay for senior citizens assistance was also doubled from P300 million to P600 million in line with Rama’s promise to increase to P10, 000 the financial assistance for each elderly resident next year.

The outlay for acquiring province-owned lots was doubled to P100 million for 2013 compared with P50 million this year.

Another P50 million is also set aside for site development and the acquisition of socialized housing sites.

Barangays will also receive more assistance from the Rama administration in his proposal.

The mayor said he wanted aid to barangays increased from P175 million to P800 million in 2013. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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