Cebu City Treasurer Emma Villarete yesterday said her office can only raise P4.8 billion from local sources to fund Mayor Michael Rama’s P6.7 billion proposed 2013 budget.
Villarete told the City Council there was a need to pass legilsative interventions to enable Mayor Rama to “exercise his convincing power to raise the remaining P1.9 billion which will come from its joint venture share with Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) – P1 billion and the disposal of city-owned lots worth about P700 million.
Wheter or not the fund sources were feasible remains to be seen.
In reply to Villarete’s revelation, Councilor Margot Osmeña, chairperson of the budget committee, said “This is all based on the assumption that the lot sales will be consumnated.”
She was referring to the plan of Rama to sell the vacant 2-hectare Block 27 property in the North Reclamation Area and another property in barangay Lahug.
Osmeña said that even the collection of the city’s joint venture share from Filvinest is based on assumption. She questioned the city’s capacity to collect from Filinvest when part of the property under joint venture in the South Road Properties is under lien because of pending payment claims by the Rallos heirs.
She reminded Villarete that the executive department included a P600 million joint venture share from FLI as fund sources of Rama’s 2012 budget but the amount was not collected to date.
“How can you be so sure of collecting the P1 billion joint venture share when you do not even know how many units Filinvest already sold?” majority floor leader Augustus Pe Jr. asked.
Villarete said that she and other members of the Local Finance Committee are banking on the mayor’s assurance that the city will be able to collect its joint venture share next year./Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac