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Mayor: Nothing illegal with city’s use of funds

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita December 19,2014 - 09:48 AM

Senior citizens  to get P3,000  allowance on Dec. 22

Don’t teach the mayor. First become the mayor!”

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama made the statement yesterday as he snapped back at  critics who  chided his administration for allegedly mismanaging City Hall’s finances.

“Do they have the money to give? I don’t have to prove to them (that we have money). Is there a problem if the balance (of the senior citizen’s aid) is given in January? Is it illegal? The budget will have to depend on the availability of funds,” the mayor  told reporters yesterday.

The  mayor defended  City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas, who on Wednesday was summoned by the City Council to answer questions about the unreleased balance of P5,000 due to  the city’s elderly residents.

Rama affirmed Cuevas’ statement that senior citizens would receive  P3,000  on Dec. 22 or three days before  Christmas with the balance of  P2,000 to follow next month.

Cuevas explained this  plan in last Wednesday’s session of the City Council.

“I will stand by what my treasurer said. Did I say I won’t pay the P12,000? I didn’t say this year. That can be done next year. We have to prioritize our payments. We have to be wise and reasonable,” Rama told reporters.

Cuevas earlier explained to the City Council that the administration had to use part of a  P300 million  outlay earmarked for Phase 1 of construction of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) building to fund the senior citizen’s allowances and other obligations.

She said City Hall had to do this since it was unabel to meet the P5.8 billion annual revenue target for 2014.

She said the funds used from their trust deposits would be replaced in January by revenue from real estate payments and other sources.

The revelation caught the councilors by surprise with some of them expressing concern about the state of City Hall’s finances.
Sought for  comment, Mayor RAma said that financial decisions should remain with the treasurer.

“Matters about funding is the job of the treasurer. I don’t wanna be an expert on that and neither should the council  unless they want to become treasurer,” he said.

Asked about the treasurer’s move which fueled speculations about cash flow problems,  Rama said: “that has always been the speculation. Let it continue to be a speculation. The most important thing is you’re seeing there’s asphalting, you’re seeing new parks. Cebu City is bright and we’re seeing Christmas.”

Lawyer Reymelio Delute earlier sent a  letter to Rama warning that he would file a case of grave misconduct if Cebu City doesn’t release the P5,000 balance in full due to sernior citizens.

Meanwhile, the mayor criticized the City Council for imposing conditions on how to use the P13.4 billion 2015 budget which is calendared for action in a special session on Monday.

“I still have to read the whole document. I heard that they have conditions. If they want to replace me as mayor, they should wait until 2016. Now that I have my own budget, don’t think that you can replace me,” he said.

He said if he belonged to the  City Council, he  would support the executive budget.

“I will never follow the way they’re thinking because I love my city. I want my city to be great. I was born here, I’m a true-blooded Cebuano. I only have one goal — to have projects that will make the lives of the poor better, the middle class comfortable and the rich not to control,” he added.

Rama had proposed an P18.9 billion budget for next year, but the City Council’s committee on budget and finance reduced the amount to P13.4 billion.


Related Stories:

City Hall to use CCMC funds to pay seniors’ allowance, other obligations

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TAGS: CCMC, Cebu City, City hall, fiscal management, senior citizen

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