Make new proposal for budget for 2016
The Cebu City Council approved a resolution returning the P9.8-billion proposed annual budget for 2016 and asked the executive department for another revised budget to be submitted by Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña.
During yesterday’s 36th regular session, the council, with only three members, approved and passed the resolution of Councilor James Cuenco to discard the P9.8-billion budget proposed by suspended Mayor Michael Rama and asked for another proposed budget for this year.
“Considering the new composition of the Executive Department, this Sanggunian finds it necessary to return the proposed annual budget to the said department for additional revisions to conform with its thrusts and programs,” the resolution read.
Despite numerous budget hearings, the P9.8-billion proposed budget remained pending until May 17, 2016, when Rama, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and 12 other members of city council were suspended by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7.
Cuenco said that if they insisted on the budget proposed by the previous executive, it would likely create an “absurd situation” where the new executive who is supposed to defend it, will now come to the council to oppose it.
“So, there would be a stalemate all throughout. So, in order for this budget to move, I deemed it necessary to return it to the new executive and submit a new one so that we can agree,” he said.
Cuenco said that he was able to talk with Osmeña and Labella and both were amendable and open to the idea. But he was not able to discuss the matter with Rama.
He finalized his decision last Monday and filed the resolution immediately in order to meet the deadline.
“He (Rama) was busy last Tuesday in our meeting. The last message that Mayor Rama told us was that we should not be like the other councilors before. He told us that we can comport ourselves in the City Council so that we can operate in critical collaboration,” he said.
Cuenco said they, the Team Rama councilors, can collaborate with the incoming administration but they can also be critical of the programs that the minority will introduce.
Cuenco also urged the current executive department to submit an annual budget based on their programs and that it should be simplified.
“The present budget now contains very numerous pages and is very technical and I don’t think anyone of us here (in the council) has the expertise on how to go about every single detail on such a detailed budget,” he said.
During her press conference yesterday, Osmeña said she supports the move to make a new revised annual budget for this year.
Osmeña said it would be easier for them to draft another budget that is simpler and will conform to the city government’s needs.
She said that she might adopt what her husband, Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña, used to do, the very basic budget which is “skin-and-bones.”
She said the previous proposed budget will be her basis when making the new one.
“The previous, there is so many budgets kasi, previously approved 2016 budget that was declared inoperative because of certain deficiencies. So we can use that as a basis to include whatever is deficient,” she said
The new budget proposal will include the midyear bonus of 5,000 city hall employees, and the P300-million amortization for the South Road Properties (SRP) but the P2.4-billion prepayment of the SRP loan will no longer be included.
“(Midyear bonus) I think, is one of the primary concerns of everybody. Actually, as much as we try to look into the reenacted budget, we could not justify charging any item there,” she said
She said that they might also copy the items under the approved P6.4-billion revised budget which had been declared by the Department of Budget as inoperative.
“I don’t know if this is an advantage or not but we are now already on our fifth month going sixth month of this year. So we have a better picture of what we have actually collected, versus the one we approved, the 2016 annual budget was mostly projected,” she said.
With four remaining sessions this month, Osmeña said she will no longer wait for the assumption of Tomas and will just do the new budget within two weeks.
But she said that she will consult Tomas for items he might want to to include in the budget.
Meanwhile, Philip Zafra, president of the Association of Barangay Councils urged barangay captains affiliated with Team Rama not to cross the fence and join Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan.
“Well, we will really be happy if they remain with us but we will not force them,” Zafra said in Cebuano. /with Shiela Mae Gumapon
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