IF APPROVED, the health, infrastructure, education and social welfare sectors will get the biggest chunk of the 2021 annual budget of Cebu City.
However, City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, chairman of the committee on budget and finance, said the City may have to limit its expenditures next year since the City will most likely fail to reach its target tax collection for 2020.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said different City Hall departments are currently reviewing next year’s proposed budget.
He said the local finance committee and department heads are deliberating whether to include in the budget intended for the City Health Department (CHD) the purchase of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The mayor said his office wants to allocate P500 million for this purpose. He said the City must set aside a budget for this as early as now.
Labella said the CHD budget will also include the purchase of flu and pneumonia vaccines and other medicines needed in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
For infrastructure, he said the City must set aside a budget for the completion of the Cebu City Medical Center, city roads, traffic improvement and other projects that will “spur economic development.”
For education, Labella said the Department of Education is trying to come up with programs that will complement distance learning while face-to-face classes are prohibited.
He said there is an ongoing pilot study for the use of laptops and tablets in Barangays Tisa and Carreta and a pilot study for the installation of Wi-Fi in Barangays Labangon and Tejero.
The Department of Social Welfare and Services is also expected to get a large budget since it is charged with providing assistance to different sectors affected by the current health crisis.
He said the budget will also include programs for the City’s economic recovery.
Labella expects the deliberation to be completed within this week.
Meanwhile, Labella assured that the City’s essential programs will not be compromised.
“We will catch up. We have to look for other sources of revenue aside from the tax collection,” he said.
The proposed budget for 2021 must be settled by Oct. 15. It will then be forwarded to the City Council for approval. (JJL)