Council agrees on P5.2 billion budget for Cebu City

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CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama will have to maximize the P5.2 billion budget agreed upon by the Cebu City Council which will pass an ordinance for this purpose in a special 9 a.m. session today.

The annual budget is P1.5 billion short of Rama’s proposed P6.7 billion which was already scaled down from his original proposal of P11 billion.

Councilor Margot Osmeña, who will introduce the  budget ordinance, said some outlays for  new infrastructure projects will be deferred due to the election ban.

They can still be funded in supplemental budgets next year.

“Also, the engineering office has several projects that were not yet implemented from the previous budget,” she said.

Rama proposed a P6.7 billion budget for 2013, calling it a  “people’s budget” since it was crafted after consultations with multi-sectoral groups.

But the council dominated by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) bloc thought otherwise.

They raised financial aid to the Association of Barangay Councils to P2.5 million from  P1 million proposed by Rama.

Osmeña said the council decided to defer new infrastructure projects unless those funded this year and  previous years are completed.

In last week’s budget hearing, majority floor leader Augustus Pe Jr. asked city engineers for a status report of infrastructure projects.

Engr. Joel Reston earlier told the council that only P60 million out of P355 million worth of projects under the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) were bidded out so far.

Reston said they’ve so far prepared Programs of Works and Estimates for P237 million of the P355 million infrastructure projects identified under the 2012 AIP.

Of those already covered with POWE, only 11 of the projects were bidded out.

Aside from reducing the mayor’s budget request, the draft budget ordinance also carries with it “general provisions” to ensure that appropriations “shall be available exclusively for purposes in which they have been appropriated.”

The council said any additional funding requests by a department “shall be made only after prior authority and approval” from them.

The draft budget ordinance also specified that appropriations under the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) should not be spent on the honorarium of job order personnel unless authorized by the council.

The council earlier questioned the realignment of P29 million of the P30 million appropriation for the 2012 Teachers Assistance Program without their prior authority.

Due to the realignment, the P10,000 incentive released to the city’s 5, 000 public school teachers last Saturday had to be charged to the city’s Special Education Fund. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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