City Council urged: Be very objective
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/FPL (The Freeman) - December 15, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City acting mayor Edgardo Labella has urged the City Councilors to be “very objective” as they make the final deliberation today of the proposed P8.9 billion 2016 Annual Budget.

“Be very objective. And still reconsider the best interest of the people of the City of Cebu in tackling the 2016 Annual Budget,” Labella said.

Acting vice mayor Nestor Archival admitted it would be another challenge for him to sit as presiding officer of the council. He belongs to the majority bloc, Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.

“Ang imong matan-aw karon, naay different opinions about budget, mahimo natong ma-harmonize nato kay naay different opinion sa council. Hopefully atong ma-harmonize para makahatag ta og more service sa Cebuanos,” he said.

Suspended Mayor Michael Rama is hoping that the Christmas spirit will be felt inside the session hall as the councilors deliberate the proposed budget. Rama is currently serving a 60-day preventive suspension because of the administrative complaint filed by Labangon Barangay Captain Victor Buendia.

Buendia sued Rama for causing the demolition of the median structure along Katipunan Street.

“If they will end, it will leave closure to the budget matter otherwise we will have to be staying and no one would be going for holidays because it would leave a bad taste for a Council,” Rama said.

“I am not trying to put pressure to them, it is them who will be putting pressure if they are not taking the budget with sense of urgency,” Rama added.

One of the proposed sources of fund that the executive department has identified is the P2.7 billion total general income for 2016 as the developers, who won the public bidding of the 45.2-hectare lots at the South Road Properties, are expected to make another payment.

City Administrator Lucelle Mercado is apprehensive that the City Council might again slash the proposed budget because of pending case before the Regional Trial Court questioning the validity of the sale of SRP lots.

Earlier this year, the consortium of SM Prime Holdings and Ayala Land-Cebu Holdings Inc. as well as Filinvest Land Inc. paid the city government P8.35 billion for the down payment of the SRP lots. The remaining 50 percent of the total P16.7 billion sale would be settled thru installment in two to three years.

In 2016, the developers would pay P2.7 billion to the city for the first installment, after the down payment this year. The City Council is stalling the approval of the P2.8 billion Supplemental Budget-1 this year since the source of fund of the additional budget is the SRP proceeds, which is in question.

The RTC has already dismissed the case filed by a certain Romulo Torres, but the complainant filed a motion for reconsideration. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ANNUAL BUDGET BANDO OSME BUDGET CEBU CITY CITY CITY ADMINISTRATOR LUCELLE MERCADO CITY COUNCIL CITY COUNCILORS CITY OF CEBU RAMA
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