THE Cebu City Council approved the fourth supplemental budget (SB 4) amounting to P745 million during a special session held on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.
Some expenditures were cut since the amount is P240 million less than the P985.6 million the executive department had proposed.
Among the items included in the SB 4 are the hazard pay for barangay workers; cash incentives for City Hall employees; and the budget for the purchase of medical equipment, fixtures and furniture for the City Heath Department, among others.
Members of the council, including Vice Mayor Michael Rama who sits as the presiding officer, agreed not to receive their cash incentive. So did Mayor Edgardo Labella.
City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said the elected officials opted to waive their cash incentives “to be one with those who are suffering in this time of crisis.”
A total of P56 million has been allotted for the cash incentives, which cover regular and casual employees who are active employees as of Nov. 30 and whose length of service is equal to or more than four months. Employees who have less than four months of service as of Nov. 30 will receive a prorated amount.
Garcia, budget and finance committee chairman, said the committee did not include in the final items the payment of the compromise penalty to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) amounting to P230 million.
The BIR had taxed the proprietary activities of the City Government in 2009 and 2019, which included the sale of lots at the South Road Properties, parking fees and market fees, among others.
Arnold Sobelana, representative of the City Accounting Office, said the BIR subjected these income to regular corporate income tax.
The executive department was going to avail itself of the tax amnesty offered by the BIR so that instead of paying P1.9 billion, it would pay only P230 million.
This did not sit well with some members of the council, who said that the income from these activities was used to serve the public.
Rama also said they could bring the matter to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Garcia said his committee also cut the budget for the purchase of new motor vehicles to P35 million from P45 million.
The committee said the budget would only be used to buy coaster buses.
Opposition Councilors Lea Japson and Alvin Dizon, who had opposed the original budget of P45 million, said the P35 million would have been better used for another program to help residents who lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic. (JJL)