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Cebu News

Osmeña won’t submit another annual budget to City Council

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Incoming Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña will not submit a new revised budget for this year after learning that City Council has rejected the P6 billion proposed by his wife, acting mayor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña.

In a phone interview last night, Tomas said he will no longer submit another budget for this year and that he will continue working on a reenacted budget once he assumes office.

“I will have the reenacted budget. It’s ok,” he said.

Last March, Department of Budget and Management-7 declared the P6.4 billion approved 2016 Annual Budget as inoperative, forcing the city government to operate on a reenacted budget.

With this, only those items under the 2015 reenacted budget can be used.

When asked about the salary of the casual employees hired from January until June 30, Tomas said he will use the 2015 budget.

Sought for comment, City Budget Officer Marietta Gumia said the incoming mayor has the discretion as to whether or not to submit the annual budget.

Gumia said the city can operate throughout the year using the 2015 reenacted budget but only through limited items.

She said that in the implementation of the reenacted budget, only the annual appropriation for salaries and wages of existing positions, statutory and contractual obligations, and essential operating expenses authorized in the annual and supplemental budgets for the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted, as provided under the Local Government Code.

With this, she said around 70 newly hired casual employees last January will not be given their salaries because it was not included in the 2015 budget.

Last Monday, the four-member City Council rejected the P6 billion annual budget proposed by Margot.

Councilor James Anthony Cuenco admitted that the rejection of the budget was decided during a meeting with the incoming Team Rama councilors, which will have the majority in the coming administration.

Tomas said he does not mind if he will work on a reenacted budget.

Margot, for her part, said she feels sorry for the employees who have been waiting for their midyear bonus, which is equivalent to their one month salary.

She said she understands that Tomas would not want to submit for another budget since he will be preparing for the 2017 Annual Budget starting July.

“They (City Council) returned it man. Sila nalang mag-explain,” she said.

“I promised them that we will submit the budget. We did our share. Now, we are on the other side nga eh,” she added.

As to the newly hired employees, she said she does not know how to do it, saying she will ask Commission on Audit on how to go about it.

Margot said as far as she knows, the city cannot hire new employees this year because there is no budget for it.  (FREEMAN)

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