Council overrides budget veto

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The Cebu City Council yesterday overrode the mayor’s veto in a resolution that ensured that a leaner 2013 budget of P5.2 billion would stand.

There was no opposition to the action of the Bando Osmeña – Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) dominated City Council in overriding the partial veto of Mayor Micheal Rama.

“It’s better than nothing,” said an irked Mayor Rama later.

“But it will only emphasize that they (the council) are not after the general welfare but after my neck.”

Rama’s allies, Councilors Edgar Labella, Jose Daluz III, Eduardo Rama Jr., and Ronald Cuenco did not participate in the session yesterday.

The 19-member City Council only needed 13 votes to reach the 2/3 ratio n required vote to override the mayor’s veto.

BO-PK has 15 members including Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young.

Councilor Margot Osmeña, chairperson of the budget committee, said that reducing the mayor’s proposed budget by P1.5 billion was not meant to make City Hall operations difficult.

She said the council only wanted to balance city expenditures with its capacity to generate revenue.

The council disapproved a P10 million sports development program calling it a duplication for the P7.5 million budget for the City Sports Commission.

An P11 million proposal to buy new police vehicles could wait until the city can raise additional revenues, said Osmeña.

She also called Rama’s attention to the action of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) disallowing a 2012 appropriation for the release of sanitation allowances to garbage collectors and loaders.

For this reason, the council did not approve a P1.6 million outlay requested for the same purpose in the 2013 budget.

The City Council also refused to approve P0.5 million for the closure of the Inayawan sanitary landfill closure because a previous P1.2 million outlay for the same purpose in the 2012 budget was unused.

“Besides what’s the use of having a landfill closure budget when the landfill was already closed in December 2011,” said Osmeña.

She said the council’s decision to give a zero budget to the Squatters Prevention Encroachment and Elimination Division (SPEED) and the City Anti-Indecency Board (CAIB) was due to the failure of the heads of these special bodies to appear during budget hearings to defend their budget request.

Also, most of their budget request was for training, travel and supplies purchase because appropriation for the employees salaries is already included in the city’s Personal Services (PS) appropriation.

Osmeña said the travel was not necessary while trainings and supplies purchase should be handled by the Human Resources Development Office (HRDO) and the Government Services Office (GSO).

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