Security cameras -yes, no to additional medicine budget

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A P24 MILLION request for drugs and medicine is being questioned by the opposition dominated Cebu City Council.

In yesterday’s budget hearing, Councilor Margot Osmeña said the City Health Department only consumed P7.3 million of its P20 million budget this year, leaving an extra P12.7 million as of last month.

Meanwhile, Osmeña, who chairs the committee on budget and finance, was more sympathetic to a P15 million budget request for the installation of closed circuit TV cameras in crime-prone areas.

Philip Zafra, the mayor’s chief of staff, said the city needed P64.8 million for this but is only asking an initial amount of P15 million.

“We are implementing the project phase by phase,” he said.

Osmeña said the cameras are more important than the mini dump trucks which the executive department wanted to buy at P2.2 million each for 36 barangays.

“Why don’t you (Zafra) ask P60 million (for the CCTVs) and reduce the appropriation for trucks that are not needed if this (CCTVs) really a priority. We are responsible for the safety of the people,” the councilor said.

Meanwhile, City Health Department administrative officer Mario Dennis Calvo clarified that the P20 million outlay for drugs and medicine was already obligated per reports from the City Treasurer’s Office.

Osmeña said it was impossible because she had official records furnished to her last Dec. 10 that said otherwise.

The budget committee also questioned the P5 million request for medical supplies for the city’s health centers.

The proposal for 2013 was P2 million more than this year’s P3 million budget.

Dr. Fe Cabugao, assistant health officer, explained that the amount would buy cotton, betadine, soap and other needs for health centers.

Some health centers put up donation boxes because they don’t have a budget for their upkeep.

Cabugao said these are among the requirements set by the Department of Health for Philhealth accreditation of health centers. Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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