P2.1 billion spent for COVID-19

Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - November 29, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City has spent at least P2.1 billion of its P3.4 billion budget for COVID-19 related initiatives, as of October 16, 2020.

This was disclosed by Councilor Raymond Garcia, chairperson of the City Council’s Committee on Budget and Finance.

Based on data Garcia has provided, the city has five sources of funds: Supplemental Budget 2, Supplemental Budget 3, two trust funds, and the disaster’s capital outlay.

The city has spent at least P1.006 billion from the P1.9 billion Supplemental Budget 3; P899 million from the P1 billion Supplemental Budget 2; P14.4 million from the P15 million trust fund; and P167 million from another trust fund of P302.6 million; and P85.5 million from the P116 million capital outlay.

Included in the COVID expenses are the P500 million allocation for the Cebu City Medical Center and the P300 million aid for senior citizens.

“Daghan pa man ni’g on process pa ang purchase order,” said Garcia noting that there is still an amount left for the COVID-19 expenses this year.

Garcia said if the amount will not be spent entirely, the remainder will be reverted to the city’s general fund.

Councilors earlier called on the executive department to fast-track the liquidation of the COVID funds so that the Council will be guided in allocating money for the same purpose for the next fiscal period.

The City Council has started conducting budget hearings on the proposed P10.8 billion budget for 2021.

“We will extend ‘till next week so that all the departments can present and then, aside from that, there were some departments who wala ma-satisfy ang committee nga we wanted them to present again,” Garcia said.


Meanwhile, as of the November 27 case bulletin of the Department of Health-7, Cebu City has 329 active cases, bringing to 10,636 the city’s total number of COVID-19 cases.

The City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has noted that while the number of cases showed an increasing trend this month, only four deaths were recorded in November.

Majority of the new patients acquired the virus at workplaces.

EOC’s consultant, Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, an infectious diseases specialist, advised workers to keep physical gatherings like meetings short, to limit the number of attendees, and to prepare the agenda beforehand so that there will no unnecessary delays during the meeting. Those attending the meeting should be observing minimum health protocols strictly like wearing of mask, face shield, and physical distancing. If possible, the meeting should be done in a properly ventilated room with open doors and windows.

 Lim advised that, if possible, meetings and inter-office communications should be done virtually.

He also said that employees who manifest COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough, and sore throat should not made to go to work.

Offices are expected to have its protocols in place to monitor, test, and isolate employees who are sick.

Zoning is also recommended at home or even in workplaces for easier contact tracing and granular lockdowns in case an employee contracts the virus. — Caecent No-ot Magsumbol, JMO

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