Dizon wants P400M infra projects allocation realigned to fund city’s COVID-19 fight
CEBU CITY, Philippines –Why do we need to allocate P400 million on infrastructure projects while Cebu City remains under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)?
Councilor Alvin Dizon said that the proposed allocation that was included in Mayor Edgardo Labella’s draft supplemental budget no. 3 should instead be realigned to fund the city’s fight against the coronavirus disease.
“Spending almost half a billion pesos for infrastructure projects while we are facing a serious economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is simply not right. It is an unjustifiable public expenditure policy at this time,” said Dizon.
Labella’s SB3 amounting to a total of P3.3 billion and which he submitted to the legislative body on May 27 is scheduled for final deliberation during the City Council session this Wednesday afternoon, June 17, 2020.
A total of P500 million from the proposed SB 3 will be spent on the purchase of relief goods while P400 million will be set aside for various infrastructure projects. The rest of the amount will be spent on the release of hazard pay to city hall employees who rendered service while the city was under lockdown and the financial assistance to senior citizens who were recently added to the city’s list.
The 400 million budget includes allocations for the planned establishment of a new command center – P240 million, construction of a city archives building – P100 million, and the renovation of the City Hall legislative building to make it into a PWD and senior citizens friendly structure – P60 million.
“Why do we allocate so much money on constructing buildings during this current health crisis? Can these projects save lives in the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak? I appeal to Mayor Labella to cancel the 400 million allocations for the infrastructure projects under the SB No. 3. I appeal to the city administration to prioritize the use of people’s tax money on more essential projects,” Dizon said in a statement which he released earlier today.
Dizon said that the P400 million will be put to better use if spent on the purchase of additional relief goods and the city’s other COVID-19 related needs like the purchase of additional testing kits if needed.
With the city’s status reverted back to ECQ from general community quarantine (GCQ), several establishments will again cease to operate leaving a lot of Cebuanos unemployed and needing government assistance.
Part of the P400 million infrastructure allocation should also be spent on the improvement of the city’s health care system among others.
“COVID-19 should be a wake-up call for the city to finally invest its resources on improving our health care system, food production, water management, sustainable livelihood and employment, and socialized housing,” said Dizon.
Earlier, Labella said that investing in infrastructure projects was necessary because this was a preparation for the city’s future.
The planned command center, for example, is expected to address the city’s traffic problems and enhance disaster response and management. / dcb
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