Executive department raises amount of proposed first supplemental budget

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THE executive department of Cebu City amended its proposed first supplemental budget (SB1).

From the original amount of P4.427, the proposed amount is now P4.45 billion, according to City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, budget and finance committee chairman.

In late May, the executive department submitted the original proposed SB 1 to the council. The council, which converted itself into a committee of a whole, started the budget hearing on June 3, 2021.

After department heads defended their proposed budgets, the proposed SB 1 was returned to the executive department for adjustments, taking into consideration recommendations of the council, as well as the current situation in the city.

Garcia said there were items in the original proposed SB 1 that were either slashed or reduced, while some were allocated with more funds.

Some of the major amendments include the additional budget for garbage disposal amounting to P100 million; P230 million for the payment of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); and slashing the P100 million budget intended to augment the budget for the purchase of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.

The budget for the City’s vaccination program was also increased by around P135 million.

Garcia was not able to specify the items and give the specific amounts that were affected by the adjustments.

In the amended proposed SB 1, the largest cut remains to be for the payment of the South Road Properties (SRP) loan amounting to P1.2 billion, as well as for the completion of the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) amounting to P1 billion.

Other proposed expenses of the SB 1 include P302 million for the senior citizens’ financial program, P268 million for the aid of the 80 barangays in the city and P300 million for the vaccination program.

The P300 million, which was charged under the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, will be used for logistics like refrigerators for vaccine storage and repair and maintenance of isolation facilities, among others.

In the amendment, the City Health Department (CHD) asked for P135 million more to reinforce manpower in the City’s vaccination sites.

During the budget hearing last July 23, the CHD representative said it needed 95 medical officers, 260 nurses, 10 pharmacists, 100 encoders and 170 nursing attendants.

CHD officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said the City has six vaccination sites, but it plans to open a total of 21 sites to fast-track vaccination.

Once the budget is approved by the council, Ibones said the CHD will start to deploy applicants in the vaccination sites on Aug. 1.

The CHD also asked for an additional P206 million to purchase medicines and vaccines for other disease (P70 million), hire new doctors and nurses (P60 million) and for maintenance and other operating expenses (P80 million).

Garcia said the SB1 will be sourced from SRP lot sale proceeds and the retained operating surplus last year.

He said the budget hearing for the amended proposed SB 1 took place on Thursday, July 22, and Friday, July 23.

He said he will submit the amendments to the council during its regular session on Wednesday, July 28. (JJL)

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