THE P4-million budget for the Christmas party of Cebu City Hall employees will be realigned so it can be used to purchase goods for selected sectors.
Mayor Edgardo Labella also issued a memorandum that there will be no Christmas party at the City Hall in December this year.
“Instead of the party, we will be giving Christmas goodies like rice to the vendors, katong (those) displaced vendors, sidewalk vendors, jeepney drivers and habal-habal drivers,” the mayor said in an interview on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020.
Labella will ask a member of the City Council to sponsor a resolution for the budget realignment.
He said he will look for other funds that can be realigned so the City can help more sectors.
“Many have lost their livelihood, especially those under the no work, no pay policy. Maybe the City can provide a rice subsidy and some noodles for them,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
In 2019, the City Hall spent around P5 million for its Christmas party.
This year’s budget of P4 was supposed to be used for food, contest prizes and raffles during the Christmas party, but considering many have suffered as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Labella decided not to push through with it.
Well before the pandemic, many sidewalk vendors lost their livelihood when the City implemented the presidential directive to clear roads and sidewalks of illegal obstructions in 2019.
Around 1,200 sidewalk vendors have since been displaced.
Habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) and traditional public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers were also forced to stop their operating when public transportation was suspended in March pursuant to community quarantine policies.
There are around 4,000 habal-habal drivers and 4,500 traditional PUJ drivers in the city.
In September, the operation of traditional PUJs resumed in other local government units, but not in Cebu City.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases also recently gave the green light for the motorcycle taxi pilot study to resume, but Labella has yet to decide whether to allow them back on the streets.
Meanwhile, the mayor assured City Hall employees that they would receive their 13th month pay.
However, there was no word on whether they would get a Christmas bonus.
Last year, regular and casual City Hall employees received a P20,000 bonus, while job order (JO) employees workers received P2,000.
City Hall has around 5,000 casual, regular and JO employees. (JJL)