Labella orders review of Cebu City’s 2020 budget to identify ‘unused’ money

By: Delta Derycka C. Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | August 05,2020 - 12:44 PM

Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, head of the City Council’s committee on budget and finance, met with department heads to discuss the need to go over their 2020 allocation. | Photo Courtesy of Councilor Raymond Garcia

CEBU CITY, Philippines — On the instructions of Mayor Edgardo Labella, Cebu City’s local finance committee has asked the heads of the different offices at City Hall to go over their allocation for 2020 and identify unused funds.

Councilor Ramond Alvin Garcia, the committee head, said they wanted to identify possible sources of funds that may be used in the city’s ongoing fight against the coronavirus disease should the need arises.

Garcia said that while the city government already set aside around P2.8 billion to fund COVID interventions and the release of relief assistance to affected families, there is still a possibility that the need for additional allocation may arise before the year ends.

“We have funds, but we are preparing for the future just in case,” said Garcia.

Garcia said that the city will have to continue to take care of the needs of residents in lockdown areas and its health workers and fund the release of cash aid to Local Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and the maintenance of quarantine centers, among others.

However, he would not say how much savings they intend to identify and how much more the city would need for its COVID-19 interventions.

Aside from identifying possible sources of savings, Garcia said that the city government will have to also prepare for reduced tax collection this year as a result of the pandemic.

On July 1, the City Treasurer’s Office reported that they barely hit 50 percent of their collection target for the months of March to July because of the closure of several businesses when the city was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

CTO collected only P297 million of its P910.58 million target for the period.  They target a total of P9 billion collection this year.

READ: Cebu City falls short on collection of taxes

In an earlier interview, Garcia said that the city will be left with no other choice but to resort to a reduction of its expenses to make sure that the city government will have enough to spend for the year.

But before they start to adopt cost-cutting measures, Mayor Labella sought the help of the Council’s finance committee on the need to review the city’s annual budget and identify possible sources of savings or those unspent appropriations from their capital outlay that is mostly spent for the acquisition of equipment and improvements.

Garcia said that with the pandemic, the possibility of suspending the implementation of some projects is not remote.  Available funds, he said, maybe realigned to the city’s COVID-19 campaign, if needed.

Another option is to tape money from the sales of the South Road Properties (SRP) and other sources of income. / dcb



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TAGS: budget review, COVID intervention, COVID-19, finance committee, unspent money

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