Watch where the money goes

July 14,2014 - 12:35 PM

The Cebu City Council has another fiscalizing task at hand with Mayor Michael Rama’s submission of the proposed Supplemental Budget 2 for this year.

The councilors should have learned by now to properly assess the proposal, instead of turning it into an occasion for politicking.

Real fiscalizing would have rendered unnecessary such actions as the recent return to the city’s coffers the calamity aid of P20,000 each by Councilors Roberto Cabarrubias, Eugenio Gabuya and Alvin Dizon.

Your honors, you would not have had money in your hands with dubious justification if you exerted more energy in being conscientious than in being purely political.

Mayor Rama’s proposed additional budget seems reasonable.

The P10 million to help mountain barangays cope with the anticipated El Niño weather phenomenon is certainly a need.

Helping the mountain barangays amid the dry spell would be tantamount to protecting the city’s food basket since most farms are in the uplands.

The proposed P10 million for buying a parcel of land where an emergency hospital and public mortuary would be built, however, merits closer scrutiny.

If the new Cebu City Medical Center is the flagship health project of the Rama administration, perhaps it is best to prioritize it rather than a satellite emergency unit for funding.

The new city hospital is expected to have better emergency healthcare facilities, anyway.

Before government officials buy land for a public mortuary, may we know if they have conducted an inventory of multi-purpose halls and chapels in the barangays where wakes can be held?

Barangay leaders should be called to task for the spillover of mourners into the streets since they can actually take care of finding larger spaces for vigils.

Parishes must be willing to enter into agreements to accommodate indigent families if they wish to have a wake in church-administered venues.

Meanwhile, the mayor wants to buy new cars for the police at the price of P15 million in preparation for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next year.

Is the city certain that the national government cannot help in this area considering that the event is international in scope?

Would  refurbishing existing vehicles not be cheaper than buying new cars?

Mayor Rama also wants each of the city’s barangay leaders to avail of P6.6 million in aid, which they were unable to do following their failure to liquidate expenses last year.

That is a lot of money. We prefer that its distribution, if approved, be made contingent on proof of good governance of each barangay, apart from chairpersons’ compliance with liquidation requirements.

This is a good direction to remove politics in City Hall-barangay relations. City Hall officials must press barangay leaders to perform well, rather than view them as pawns for election seasons.

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TAGS: basic services, Cebu City, Cebu City Council, controversy, corruption, disaster, El Niño, financial assistance, fiscal management, money trail, Supplemental Budget

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