P8.9 billion: Cebu City eyes lower annual budget for 2022

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 22,2021 - 07:56 PM

The view of Cebu City’s skyline from a high-rise in downtown Cebu City. | CDN Digital Photo by Morexette Marie Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Council committee on finance will begin weeks of budget hearing for the 2022 annual budget starting tomorrow, November 23, 2021, and the budget is surprisingly only P8.9 billion.

This is at least P1.1 billion lower than the 2021 annual budget, which Councilor Raymond Garcia, the committee chairperson for budget and finance, said was due to the administration’s focus on using funds only for what is necessary.

The budget is sourced from P8.74 billion general funds and a P1.5 billion special funds account.

The breakdown goes as follows: P3.573 billion for general policy, admin, and finance; P3.254 billion for frontline services; P641.35 million for local development; P567.67 million aid to city barangays;  P437 million for reserve funds; P315.67 million  for debt servicing; P149.02 million for support to frontlines; and P10 million for miscellaneous and other purposes. 

The bulk of the budget is going to services that are under the Office of the Mayor, which is allocated P1.569 billion. These include P500 million for senior citizens’ assistance; P36.5 million for manpower especially on contact tracing; P122.5 million for scholarship; and P30 million for burial assistance. 

The Department of General Services (DGS) is proposing a P641 million budget, while the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) is proposing a P231 million budget.

One of the biggest budgets so far is the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) at P773 million as this already includes hiring, medicines, vaccines, and other health services.

The Department of Public Services (DPS) is proposing P517 million with at least P408 million of this allocated for garbage collection, hauling, and disposal.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWS) is proposing P415 million for social services, while the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) is proposing P254 million for infrastructure projects and maintenance.

Lastly, one of the biggest proposed allocations in the 2022 annual budget is the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), which is proposing P437 million for the disaster funds.

Councilor Garcia said that the drop in budget was attributed to the fact that the departments were told not to have any Capital Outlay allocations or the buying of new vehicles, furniture, equipment, and others.

“Gi-optimize nato ang budget, wa tay capital outlay, wa tay sakyanan paliton, way furniture and equipment. Ang gusto ni mayor nga mofocus ta sa sweldo, maintenance. If and when magkinahanglan gyod og equipment like ang CCMC (Cebu City Medical Center), ato nang isupplemental budget nalang,” said Garcia.

(We optimized the budget. We don’t have any capital outlay. We don’t have vehicles to buy, no furniture and equipment. What the mayor wants is to focus on the salary and maintenance. If and when there is a need for equipment like the CCMC (Cebu City Medical Center) then will just have supplemental budget.)

Since the budget hearings will begin on Tuesday, Garcia is appealing to fellow city councilors to attend the budget hearings so that the approval of the annual budget will not drag on as it did in 2020.

The 2021 annual budget was passed two weeks before 2020 ended due to the many revisions and debates the City Council conducted during the final readings, causing a delay of the budget.

This year, Garcia hopes the council members will be attending so they can hear the explanations of each department.

“Ako silang giawhag nga moattend sa budget hearing. They will see and realize and be educated on how the department arrived at their particular budgets. Didto na sila mohimo sa interpolation di kay ig approval na,” said Garcia.

(I am encouraging them to attend the budget hearing. They will see and realize and be educated on how the department arrived at their particular budgets. it is there that they will do any interpolation and not at time when the approval will be needed.)

The committee expects the budget hearing to last at least two to three weeks before the final budget will reach the City Council as a whole.

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/dbs

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TAGS: budget hearings, Councilor Raymond Garcia, Garcia, P8.9 billion

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