Councilors find discrepancies in proposed budget
A TENSION-filled budget hearing of the Cebu City Council had to adjourn without finishing discussions on the proposed 2012 budget after department heads failed to explain some discrepancies noticed by the councilors.
Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young blew his top in yesterday’s budget hearing as Collin Rosell, head of the Department for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP), could not explain three different figures presented to the council as the budget for his department.
“You had several meetings and now you can’t explain your budget. There seems to be a pattern here. It’s not just your department. It seems someone else prepared this budget and it was just collated by the mayor’s office. We are just wasting our time,” an irate vice mayor told Rosell.
The council convened for the third time yesterday to discuss with officials of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), Cebu City Resources Management and Development Center and DWUP the revenue sources for their proposed 2012 budget. Rosell’s presentation showed that they target to raise P60 million next year to finance their P49.5-million proposed budget.
But this puzzled the members of the council as in their printed copy, DWUP was only targeting P49.5 million in revenues. When asked to explain the discrepancy, budget officer Nelfa Briones showed a document, which Rosell certified, that DWUP targets to earn P50.4 million next year.
“We are basing our discussions on the budget submitted to us by the LFC and signed by the mayor,” said Councilor Margot Osmeña, the budget committee chairperson.
Rosell asked the council to listen to his presentation so they would understand him better.
“I cannot listen to you because you are giving us a wrong figure. We should postpone this,” Young said.
Rosell tried to ask for reconsideration, but Councilor Sisinio Andales called for a recess to ease the tension. After five minutes, the hearing resumed.
“If what they (department heads) have transmitted (to the council) is not accurate, then you (Young) are right in saying that this (executive) budget is a joke and we cannot be wasting time on this,” said Councilor Rodrigo Abellanosa.
Before the hearing adjourned, Vice Mayor Young told Briones to again clarify with the department heads their draft budget.
Councilor Osmeña said the delays and discrepancies could have been avoided had Mayor Michael Rama allowed his department heads to appear in a preliminary budget hearing that the finance committee called last month.
The city council has until Jan. 15, 2012, to pass the city budget.
Otherwise, Cebu City will have to operate on a reenacted 2011 budget until the new one get passed. Reporter Doris C. Bongcac and Correspondent Edison A. delos Angeles
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