Cebu City Council to start deliberations this month

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WITH just seven weeks to go before the year 2020 ends, the Cebu City Council has yet to begin its hearings on the proposed annual budget for 2021.

However, Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, committee on budget and finance chairman, assured the budget will be approved before Dec. 31, 2020.

Garcia said the proposed budget amounting to P10.8 billion will be introduced in the Council on Nov. 23, his target date, after wrapping up the presentation on the liquidation of the City’s Covid-19 expenses on Nov. 20.

He assured that no projects for 2021 will be affected due to delays in the budget hearing.

Pursuant to a resolution earlier approved by the Council that the 2021 annual budget should be “Covid-19-responsive,” Garcia said the Council will closely check on each item of the proposed budget to ensure its relevance.

The health sector got the biggest cut in the proposed annual budget at P1.3 billion, with P305 million going to the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) for its field and barangay programs.

Another P576 million was proposed for the improvement of the hospital equipment and services while P150 million will be used for the purchase of anti-pneumonia and anti-flu vaccines.

Other sectors and offices which got a large chunk of the budget include the following: Senior citizens financial assistance (P900 million), aid to the barangays (P796 million), Department of Social Welfare and Services (P565 million), Department of Public Services (P539 million), and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management sector (P383 million).

The 2021 proposed budget is P400 million higher than 2020’s annual budget, which was P10.4 billion.

The City, as of October, approved three supplemental budgets for 2020.

Garcia is set to file another supplemental budget before the end of November amounting to P400 million which will be used for additional food for frontliners, hazard pay for barangay workers, and laboratory equipment for CHD, among others. / JJL