Cebu City Council passes almost P4.5 billion supplemental budget on divided house

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | July 28,2021 - 09:56 PM

Members of the Cebu City Council huddle during a recess in a special session. | CDN File photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The long-awaited almost P4.5 billion Supplemental Budget No. 1 (SB-1) proposed by Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella was finally passed by the City Council on Wednesday evening, July 28, 2021.

After a grueling, 7-hour session that lasted from 2 p.m. to beyond 8 p.m., the council has decided to approve the supplemental budget which contains allocations for the payment of delayed salaries of the medical workers in the city, the completion of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), additional expenses for vaccination and COVID-19 response, and payment of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) taxes.

The majority bloc led by majority floor leader, Councilor Raymond Garcia, approved the budget beating the minority floor by 2 votes with the final results at 8-6 favoring the majority bloc.

Minority floor leader, Councilor Nestor Archival, said there are too many allocations in the budget that still needs to be scrutinized like the P1 billion allotment for the CCMC completion and other non-urgent expenses.

“Nganong magdali man ta. Kwarta man ni sa mga tawo. We don’t play games here,” argued Archival.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya, Jr., another minority floor member, argued that passing the SB-1 is tantamount to depleting the remaining savings of the city because it will tap on the remaining sale of the South Road Properties (SRP) lots.

“Just a manifestation, Mr. Chairman. If we pass this budget, hurot na atong SRP funds. Kung naa may pandemic sunod, wala na tay kwarta,” said Gabuya.

Even Councilor Franklyn Ong, the president of the Liga ng mga Barangays (LNB), said there is no need to rush the approval as the city council must have enough time to peruse the budget.

However, Councilor Garcia said that the committee on budget and finance has scrutinized the budget twice already. The budget was even returned for some adjustments.

“The budget hearing was the time to ask questions. Everyone was invited to be there,” said Garcia.

Councilor Archival argued that the budget hearing does not mean that the City Council cannot take time to peruse the budget again afterward.

With Archival’s objections raised, the council was divided allowing the majority floor to take the vote over the passing of the budget.

Earlier in the day, Councilor Garcia promised to pass the budget because of the medical workers waiting for their delayed salaries.

He said that the approved supplemental budget would allow the city government to pay for the expenses of the vaccination program and COVID-19 responses. /rcg


Labella confident P4.4B supplemental budget will be passed
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TAGS: Cebu City, Cebu City Council, Councilor Raymond Garcia, divided house, Mayor Edgardo Labella, P4.5-BILLION, SRP lots sale, Supplemental Budget No. 1

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