Cebu City Council wraps up grueling budget hearing

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | December 17,2020 - 04:35 PM

Cebu City Council members huddle during a recess in a special session. | Delta Dyrecka Letigio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The budget hearing for the proposed P10.8 billion 2021 annual budget in Cebu City was not short of colorful banters and conflicts during the past three weeks that councilors scrutinized the budget allocations Mayor Edgardo Labella has proposed.

The budget hearing has caused rifts between the mayor and opposition Councilor Alvin Dizon after the latter criticized the proposed expenditure for 2021, especially the mayor’s proposed Intelligence funds of P30 million.

The mayor has turned political as well saying that the opposition is determined to block the budget for underlying political motivation and as a means to stop programs before the 2022 elections.

The City Council even formed an Adhoc committee, which Vice Mayor Michael Rama spearheaded, to help streamline the budget and prioritize only the immediate needs of the city as the pandemic continues.

Yet after three weeks of grueling sessions and publicized conflicts, the City Council Committee on Budget and Finance finally completed the budget hearings on December 17, 2020, merely two weeks before the end of the year.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia has expressed satisfaction and relief that despite the intensified scrutiny of the council members, the hearing was completed and every department checked on for their budget allocations.

“I will now meet the committee on budget and finance and we make recommendations on how the budget should go about. Then we will present it for final deliberation to the council,” said Garcia in a phone interview with CDN Digital.

Initially, Garcia said they were definite to slash down the budget, but with the development of a sure vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, the council has reconsidered slashing the P10.8 billion proposed allocation.

Instead, the council members have signified they want an allocation for the vaccines in the annual budget.

As of now, only P150 million is allocated for vaccines and medicine in the proposed annual budget. Garcia said the committee on budget and finance will try to slash the budget of certain programs and projects that may not be considered necessities and reallocate these to the vaccine.

“I’m targetting a P400 million for the vaccines because that is the cap allocation from our approved Annual Investment Plan, but the mayor can always ask for more through a supplemental budget next year,” said Garcia.

With the wrapping up of the budget hearings, the majority floor leader is now more confident that the budget will be passed in time for the last regular session on December 23, 2020.

The budget will need to be passed within the year or else the 2020 budget will be reinstated, which has no allocation for pandemic response.

“We will pass it on time. It can be done,” said the councilor. /rcg

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next

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.

TAGS: budget hearing, Cebu City Council wraps up budget hearing, Cevu City Council, Councilor Alvin Dizon, Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, Mayor Edgardo Labella, P10.8 billion budget, proposed 2021 budget

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.