Councilor Margot Osmeña, chairperson of the Budget Committee, said that the council approved the 2013 AIP even if this was almost double the P6.7 billion budgetary outlay proposed by Mayor Michael Rama because the AIP is just a “wish list”.
“Anything in the general budget has to be in the AIP. But they (the executive department) get to choose what to prioritize (for implementation),” she said.
The 2013 AIP consists of General Public Services: P4.48 billion; Economic Services: P4.31 billion; Social Services: P2.57 billion and Other Services: P852 million.
As this developed, the City Council is set to start on Friday the review of the P6.7 billion budget proposed by Rama for 2013.
Osmeña said they will initially meet the members of the Local Finance Committee which is composed of City Planning and Development Officer Alipio Bacalso, City Treasurer Emma Villarete and City Budget Officer Nelfa Briones.
Series of budget hearings with the different department heads will then be scheduled after the initial discussion with the LFC.
“Let all the budget hearings be opened to the public in the spirit of transparency and public accountability,” Councilor Alvin Dizon sid.
Rama in a separate interview said he already directed the department heads to be ready to answer questions from the City Council.
“But let them (council) remember that there is the rule of law, good manners and right conduct and there are political realities,” he said.
Rama complained during the review of the 2012 budget on how the councilors treated some department heads during their appearances in budget hearings. He said that he did not like the way the councilors caused shame on some department heads. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters