DBM ‘reenacts’ Makati City budget for 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) declared the 2019 budget of the Makati City government "inoperative," therefore reenacting its 2018 budget.

In a letter signed dated March 14, DBM Director Ruby Muro said the city's P17.927-billion 2019 budget, which has been previously amended, has yet to comply with the budgetary requirements of the department.

DBM noted that the appropriations for 2019 "exceeded" the city's income estimate by P1.377 million, in violation of the Budget Operations Manual for local governments. This year, Makati City is projected to earn only P17.926 billion.

"The previous year's budget is deemed reenacted, pending the submission of a new ordinance authorizing the annual appropriations taking into account the above-mentioned findings," Muro said.

A reenacted budget means city expenditures for 2019 will be funded by the same amount and within the same allocations as those provided in the 2018 approved budget.

Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo pinned the blame on opposition councilors allied with former mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay for the amendments "inconsistent with the existing laws."

"The amended budget of the opposition bloc of the Sanggunian (City Council) is inconsistent with existing laws, grossly disproportionate, and does not promote equitable distribution of the city’s resources," Lagdameo said.

"It is unfortunate that the opposition councilors have remained blind to the errors and glaring inequality that they have caused, and again missed the opportunity to rectify the disservice they have done to the people of Makati," she added.

In January, Makati City spokesperson Michael Camiña also accused the opposition of "holding hostage" their 2019 budget, saying that politics is behind the deadlock.

The Binay siblings will slug it out for the mayoral race in the May 2019 elections. Twelve members of the majority bloc are allied with Binay Jr against his sister, reelectionist Mayor Abigail Binay. 

Higher than allowed 

Apart from the discrepancies in the target income and the 2019 budget, the DBM also noted that some programs and projects in the appropriations ordinance "were higher" than the approved Annual Investment Program (AIP).

In the amended budget, Makati councilors alloted P52.568 million to the Volunteer Management System, which exceeded by P49.647 million its approved AIP amount of P2.921 million.

Similarly, the revised Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Awards budget of P40.559 million surpassed its AIP amount by P22.07 million.

The revised budget also failed to comply with the laws on local disaster funds, which require a 30% allocation for Quick Response Fund (QRF). Under their amended budget, some P841,806 were supposed to be allocated for QRF, but was instead placed under the Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Fund.

The issues raised by the DBM were the same items cited by Mayor Abigail Binay in her veto message to the city's budget.

Lagdameo said that with DBM order, there was no ample time to beat the election ban on salary increase as well as other city government projects.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) rules prohibits giving salary increases, remuneration, or privilege to government workers during the campaign period.

Because of this, over 10,000 employees of the city hall will not receive their salary increase "due to the amendments opposition councilors," Lagdameo said.

Lagdameo also said that the budget delay hindered the city's compliance with some provisions of the Local Government Code, as well as the assessment criteria for the interior department's Seal of Good Local Governance and Local Legislative Awards. – Rappler.com