Cebu News

BOPK dads: SRP sale can’t fund 2015 budget

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/FPL - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Some members of the Cebu City Council are questioning the P4.5 billion that the executive department has sourced out of the sale of the South Road Properties to fund this year’s P13.4 billion budget.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña said the SRP sale could not be used as fund source of this year’s annual budget because it was one of the items vetoed by Mayor Michael Rama in January.

Osmeña, chairperson of the committee on budget and finance, said the amount should be deleted as fund source.

“Why bother putting the P4.5 billion? What is the need of P4.5 billion when it was vetoed by the mayor?” Osmeña said

She raised the question yesterday during the budget meeting with the Local Finance Committee on the proposed P3.32 billion supplemental budget this year.

The city’s executive department has explained that the city government exceeded its projection on the sale of the SRP lots which could be used as fund source for the supplemental budget.

City accountant Mark Salomon said the city has projected the sale to reach P9 billion. However, he said the city closed the sale with P16.76 billion.

Salomon said the city has included P4.5 billion out of the sale of the 45-hectare lot at SRP, which is supposedly 50 percent down payment of its projected sale, to fund the annual budget.

He said the city has exceeded the projected amount since it was able to collect P8.38 billion.

“The total sale of SRP lot is P16.766, the city received P8.388 billion (50 percent down payment). We can use over P3.883 billion as additional realized income from the sale since we projected only P4.5 billion to fund the annual budget of the year,” Salomon said.

As to the vetoed items of the mayor, Salomon said the mayor only vetoed the “conditions” set by the City Council in the identification of the sources of funds and not the P4.5 billion itself.

In January 2015, Rama vetoed at least 20 “inappropriate provisions” in the P13.4 billion annual appropriations including the “condition” on the identification of the sources of funds.

City Councilors Sisinio Andales, Nida Cabrera, Eugenio Gabuya, and Osmeña insisted that the P4.5 billion should be excluded as source of fund since it was vetoed by the mayor.

Salomon said deleting the P4.5 billion as source of fund in the SB-1 might be construed as a forfeiture by the Local Finance Committee of the amount to fund the annual budget. He said the P4.5 billion capital outlay will be used to fund projects in the city which includes P1.5 billion drainage project, P335 million disaster preparation and response; and P300 million for the reconstruction of the Cebu City Medical Center, among others.

If the P4.5 billion capital outlay will be deleted, the projects intended will not be realized.

The executive department, however, agreed with the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan-dominated Council to omit the specifications in the sources of fund for SB-1.

“For as long as we are in agreement that P3.883 billion can be used to fund the supplemental budget,” Salomon said.  (FREEMAN)












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