Labella seeks additional P4.4 billion budget

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THE Cebu City Council has started deliberations on Mayor Edgardo Labella’s proposed P4.4 billion first supplemental budget (SB1) for 2021.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, budget and finance committee chairman, said the deliberations began on Thursday, June 3, 2021.

The proposed budget will be presented to the City Council on June 9, Wednesday after changes suggested by City Council members will be incorporated.

SRP funds

Garcia said the SB1 will be sourced from proceeds of South Road Properties (SRP) lots and savings from unused funds from the year 2020.

The bulk of the P4.4 billion proposed supplemental budget or P1.2 billion will be used to pay off the remaining balance of the loan incurred by the City in 1995 for building the SRP.

A huge chunk or P1 billion of the proposed budget will also be used to complete the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

Under the proposed SB1, P100 million will be allocated for the purchase of additional Covid-19 vaccines, and P302 million for the senior citizens’ financial assistance.

At least P268 million will be used as aid to the city’s 80 barangays, according to the budget proposal.

While P300 million was appropriated for the City’s vaccination program which will cover, among others, expenses on manpower, storage facilities, medical supplies, and maintenance and repair of isolation centers.

Vaccination

During the second day of the hearing on June 4, Cebu City Health Department (CHD) officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said it would be better for the City to have a standby budget for Covid-19 vaccines.

The Council already has approved P400 million to buy Covid-19 vaccines under the 2021 annual budget.

If the Council approves the SB1, the City will have a total budget of P500 million to buy Covid vaccines.

The CHD is also asking for P206 million budget to be used for the following: Medicines and vaccines for other diseases (P70 million), maintenance and other operating expenses (P80 million), and the hiring of new doctors and nurses (P60 million).

Garcia said he might call a clarificatory meeting for members of the Council who were unable to attend the budget hearings. (JJL)

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