PROPOSED CEBU CITY 2018 BUDGET
In order to achieve a “realizable” annual budget for next year, Cebu City’s executive department had to reduce some appropriations for financial assistance to some government bodies and special sectors.
Councilor Margarita Osmeña, the deputy mayor on budget concerns, said that the local finance committee had to make the adjustments in order to make their budget proposal realistic.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña earlier submitted a P6.3-billion “skin-and-bones” annual budget proposal for 2018.
“It was really just matching it with what was seen by the local finance committee as realizable, realistic and achievable. It is really skin and bones,” she said.
Among those that were cut were the proposed financial assistance for the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and the Barangay Councilors League of the Philippines (BCLP).
From a P3-million allocation this year for each body, the executive department has reduced the amount to P1 million each for next year.
Another financial assistance for the League of Lupong Tagapamayapa of Cebu City was also reduced from P1 million this year to P500,000 for next year. The financial assistance for other local government units though remained the same at P500,000.
According to City Budget Officer Marietta Gumia, they chose to reduce some of the proposals for the financial assistance since these could just be augmented within next year through a supplemental budget.
“We had to prioritize our mandatory and statutory obligations. We could not find other proposals that we can reduce so we decided to reduce the financial assistance,” Gumia said.
Councilor Joel Garganera, Barug Team Rama member, criticized the decision to decrease the financial assistance.
Garganera said that the executive department had been going after the barangays.
“What’s new. The cases filed in the Ombudsman and courts against barangay captains, the withholding of financial assistance to barangay infrastructures, the over delayed releases of honorarium for barangay garbage loaders and tanods and now this?” he said when sought for comment.
“There is too much hatred in him. I wonder how he can sleep at night. We’ll just have to pray harder and let God take care of the rest. Advance Merry Christmas to you, Mayor Tom,” he added.
Cebu Daily News tried to get the comment of ABC President Philip Zafra, another opposition ex-officio councilor, but repeated calls to his cell phone number were not answered.
However, Councilor Osmeña explained that the reduction was necessary to adjust the annual budget for next year and make it more attainable.
She assured that once a supplemental budget would be submitted next year, the financial assistance for the ABC and the BCLP would be restored to their original amounts.
“We did not zero in on those two (ABC and BCLP). It was just an adjustment. In fact, that kind of assistance is not a requirement, but we will not take it out altogether,” she added.
Councilor Osmeña further explained that there were some other proposed financial assistance that had to be reduced also by the executive department.
For example, the proposed allocation for the yearly financial assistance to senior citizens in the city was reduced from P807.6 million this year to only P605.7 million for next year.
Senior citizens in the city receive a total of P12,000 as financial assistance from the city for the entire year. This is given to them in tranches throughout the year.
The proposal for the financial assistance for persons with disabilities (PWDs) was also decreased from P91 million this year to P78 million for next year.
Registered and qualified PWDs in the city receive P5,000 as financial assistance from the city annually. This is also given to them in tranches.
These do not necessarily mean though that the number of senior citizens and PWDs in the city has decreased.