Protracted budget feud | Inquirer News

Protracted budget feud

/ 11:24 AM November 08, 2011

Cebu City residents can only hope that last Friday’s walkout won’t be repeated in this afternoon’s budget hearing at the City Council.

The likelihood of that happening again appears quite high after Mayor Michael Rama insisted that Asst. City Treasurer Emma Villarete, not City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo, should explain how the city will generate the revenues to prop up his P11.8-billion budget.

At least one councilor, Jose Daluz III, said they will summon Camarillo anew to determine just how Rama and his finance officials will raise the funds for their budget aside from intensifying their tax collection and securing a credit line, the latter proposal of which the council is very much against.


The argument against an P11.8-billion budget goes is quite strong if one were to base it on current revenue projections and actual realized targets in this year’s budget as disclosed by the City Treasurer’s Office.


Initial review showed that Rama is banking on the sale of the South Road Property (SRP) lots and a multi-billion peso credit line to help prop his budget which obviously is leaned towards infrastructure projects, a lot of which like the drainage master plan, have long been delayed.

Much as Rama would want to, the current political antagonism between him and the council remains the biggest stumbling block towards the approval of his budget. We ask that they set aside their animosity for another time.

Rama also has his own issues with Camarillo, who to her credit and despite the mayor’s stubbornness, still said the budget target can be met despite his excuse that he doesn’t like her because she earlier voiced doubts about raising the revenues for the P11.8-billion target.

Given that backdrop, would Rama agree to scaling down his budget and would the council reciprocate his bending over backwards with their own compromise? It’s hard to tell, but the mayor and the council have less than two months to work out their differences.

As things stand now, Cebu City cannot afford another loan considering it has yet to fully pay one that they used to buy the SRP not to mention its unresolved debt payment to the Rallos heirs which Rama insists on fighting all the way to the Supreme Court.

At the same time, city residents deserve more than the “skin and bones” budget that Rama’s predecessor and now Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district had been dictating to the council for the past decade.


These two things should be considered by Rama and the council as they hunker down to a protracted budget debate. In the end, city residents won’t bother so much as ask how big or small the budget is. Rather they would ask how those billions of pesos of their taxes were spent to improve their lives.

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