Rama seeks P1.6B for supplemental budget; largest allocation goes to SRP loan
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City may finally be debt-free by August 2022 if the Cebu City Council passes Supplemental Budget No. 1 (SB 1) on the next regular session.
The budget and finance committee has completed the deliberations for the SB 1 in the morning of Monday, February 28, 2022, with the attendance of Councilor Raymond Garcia, who is the committee chairman and majority floor leader, Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, and Councilor Jerry Guardo, presided by Vice Mayor Donaldo Hontiveros.
The budget and finance committee has approved for City Council recommendation, the total P1.610-billion supplemental budget containing crucial allocations for financial aid, employee incentives, and the prepayment of the South Road Properties (SRP) loan.
In an interview with CDN Digital, Councilor Garcia said that the largest allocation for the SB is the prepayment of the remaining balance of the 1995 Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loan the city took for the building of the SRP.
The city government plans to pay off the remaining P1.1 billion balance of the loan by August 2022, which is why the City Accounting Office is seeking the additional P868 million.
This budget is on top of the P270 million allocation from the 2022 annual budget for the payment of the loan. This brings the total to P1.1 billion, exactly the remaining balance.
Garcia said that the Accounting Office has calculated the interest up until August 2022, by then the city should have completed all requirements for the prepayment of the loan.
The city still needs to present a series of documents to JICA and the Landbank of the Philippines in order to pay the full balance with interest.
“The Accounting has calculated the interest up until August 2022, therefore, it can be expected nga we will pay the debt by August 2022,” said Garcia.
Garcia said that there is enough time to complete the documentary requirements since it is only the last day of February and there are six months left.
The council members have asked City Accounting to hasten the preparations for the prepayment of the loan during the budget hearing.
The next largest allocation is the additional P400 million financial aid to victims of Typhoon Odette, which will be given to more families.
The mayor wants to provide aid to the families who did not receive the P5,000 financial aid and structure owners whose homes were destroyed by the typhoon.
Part of the budget also includes Charter Day incentives to City Hall employees amount to P64.5 million.
In a press conference on Monday, Mayor Rama urged the City Council to pass SB 1 as soon as they can because of the financial aid to Typhoon Odette victims.
“Why should it be denied? I always respect the Council. They have all the time for their voices to be heard. I am appealing to them. I need the Council support,” said the mayor.
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