Garcia reports P1.5 B savings from Cebu City’s COVID-19 allocation
CEBU CITY, Philippines –Only P2.1 billion of its P3.6 billion allocation was actually spent in Cebu City’s fight against the coronavairus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
But the figures could still increase since this was just the city’s total expenses accumulated from May to October 16, 2020, said Councilor Alvin Raymond Garcia.
Garcia, the chairperson of the City Council’s budget and finance committee, said that the report is proof that the city government was prudent in its disbursement of government funds during the pandemic.
“If di nato magamit by the end of the year kining sobra nga 1.5 billion, mobalik ni sa General Funds,” he said.
(If we are unable to use the entire amount [0f P3.6 billion], the balance of P1.5 billion will be reverted to the General Funds.)
Garcia shared with Cebu reporters the liquidation report which he presented to City Council members during their session on Friday, November 27.
But despite the presentation of the liquidation report, allies of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) in the City Council said that the administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella was not being transparent.
Councilor Alvin Dizon told reporters in an interview that the public deserves a “clearer liquidation report” that will include the presentation of the actual purchase documents.
“In the spirit of fiscal transparency and accountability, the city government, through the executive department, should liquidate the COVID-19 fund utilization complete with supporting documents. Our constituents must be fully apprised of every cent that was spent for the city’s COVID-19 response so the people can hold their government accountable for where their taxes go,” Dizon said.
Garcia said in a separate interview that fellow Councilors and even Cebuanos who wanted to see the different purchase orders for transactions made using the city’s COVID-19 allocation can make a document request with the city’s finance department.
He said that the administration is prepared to share government documents with the public.
In his liquidation report, Garcia said that City Hall allocated funds to address the basic needs of city residents who were affected by the pandemic.
The P3.6 billion allocation, he said, came from different sources. But not everything that was allocated was actually spent by the city government.
Garcia said that of the P15 million that was taken from the city’s Trust Fund, only P14 million was actually spent. Another P899.6 million from a P1 billion allocation that was included in Supplemental Budget 2 was also disbursed for the city’s anti-COVID fight.
Only P1 billion from the P1.9 billion disaster fund allocation was spent together with another P167.1 million from the P302.6 million capital outlay.
Another P85.6 million was also spent from the P116 million allocation coming from other sources.
Labella earlier directed the City Hall department heads to go over their 2020 budget and identify funds that may be realigned to the implementation of government programs against COVID-19.
Garcia said that government funds were especially spent on the purchase of relief goods that were distributed to city residents who were affected by the pandemic, the payment of salaries of personnel who were hired to augment the city’s existing manpower, and for the establishment of isolation centers including the Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC) and the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and Home (NOAH).
The purchase of COVID-19 testing kits was also charged to the P3.6 billion allocation, he added.
Garcia said most of the P1.5 billion savings came from the suspension of the implementation of some COVID related projects that are no longer urgent following the drop in the cases of the infection here.
These include the planned establishment of the Cebu City Memorial Garden, a public cemetery for COVID-19 victims; the P500 million allocation for the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC); and the supposed purchase of vehicles for conversion into mobile hospitals. / dcb
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.