Rama suspends budget hearing
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - November 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The hearing on Cebu City’s budget for next year amounting to P10.4 billion, which was proposed by Mayor Edgardo Labella, was suspended by Vice Mayor Michael Rama yesterday afternoon.

This after Rama found out that only one member of the local finance committee of the executive department, which plays a vital role in the hearing, was present.

Rama said all members of the committee should be present in the budget hearing to present the source of funds for the annual budget.

“This is a very important budget hearing. There are matters that have to be answered before we proceed. If you talk about local finance committee in a budget hearing, all of them should be around. This is not an ordinary budget hearing. This is for the P10.4 billion annual budget 2020,” said Rama.

“It has to be under the spirit of transparency and accountability,” he added.

According to Rama, there are vital matters that should be discussed with the local finance committee, such as why City Treasurer Arlene Rentuza signed the proposed annual budget 2020 “with reservations” and when will the city government have a regular treasurer.

“We’re almost six months and we still not have a regular treasurer. The treasurer is very important,” said Rama.

Attorney Jerone Castillo is currently the acting City Treasurer.

Rama, a former mayor, said he never had a budget hearing being conducted by an OIC treasurer.

The hearing managed by the committee on budget was supposed to start at 9 a.m. yesterday with the local finance committee to present first.

However, it has been moved to 1 p.m. because the local finance committee was called for a meeting with the Commission on Audit regional office, said Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, committee on budget chairman.

“When we have a scheduled budget hearing, that should be given priority than any other agency for that matter,” said Rama.

Meanwhile, Rentuza said she is prepared to face the council to explain why she signed the proposed annual budget.

The budget hearing will be held today at 9 a.m. with the local finance committee explaining first the source of funds.

Rama said the local finance committee should present the source of funds before the budget hearing can resume.

Two offices were able to present their budget yesterday- the Prevention, Beautification, Order, and Enhancement (PROBE) team, which has a proposed budget amounting to P17 million, and the Scholarship Program, which has a proposed budget of P211 million.  LPM (FREEMAN)

EDGARDO LABELLA MICHAEL RAMA
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