Cebu City

Cebu City Council increases 2024 annual budget to P25 billion

Wenilyn Sabalo

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Cebu City Council increases 2024 annual budget to P25 billion

Screenshot of the online special session held by the Cebu City Council on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 28, 2023. The session was livestreamed at the official Facebook page of the Sangguniang Panlungsod-Cebu City.

Sangguniang Panlungsod-Cebu City

The council amends the budget ordinance after the budget and finance committee acknowledged 'typographical errors' in the previously approved ordinance

CEBU, Philippines – Less than a week after deliberating on the previously approved P22.093-billion annual budget for 2024, the Cebu City Council increased the amount by almost P4 billion.

In an online special session on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, the council amended the budget ordinance after the budget and finance committee acknowledged “typographical errors” in the previously approved ordinance. (READ: Cebu legislators slash Mike Rama’s proposed P100-billion budget for 2024 by 78%)

The errors discussed by the council were on the City Legal Office’s (CLO) maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and on the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) — where the budget increase could be attributed to.

Following a unanimous decision to amend the budget ordinance, the city council approved the revised amount of P25,833,177,745.20 as the annual budget for next year — marking an increase of around 17% from the previously approved budget for 2024 on December 22. 

The revised amount also represents half of the City Government’s P50 billion annual budget for 2023.

The reconsideration of the annual budget ordinance required a two-thirds vote of the council, with at least 12 councilors voting in favor of the amendment.

‘Typographical  error’

Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera admitted that the first error was made on the CLO’s MOOE where a typographical error has inflated the amount by over a billion. 

“We already approved the budget ordinance last week; however, Mr. Chairman, I would admit that I made an error in adding…I was able to…instead the amount for the City Legal (Office), their office supply, supposedly it’s only P1.9 million plus I put P1 billion (plus), which affected the entire budget because it’s like a P1 billion difference,” Pesquera told the council.

The accurate budget for the CLO’s MOOE is at P1,980,000, but the reflected amount in the original ordinance was at P1,980,000,000.

‘Disaster fund adjustment’

Another adjustment made by the council was on the appropriation for the LDRRMF.

Pesquera said the budget ordinance approved last week only indicated 5% of the approved budget, which is only over P20 billion, for the city’s LDRRMF; however, with projected revenue of P100 billion for next year, the city’s LDRRMF should be 5% of the P100 billion.

The error was spotted during the review of the ordinance by the budget office staff, Pesquera said.

Minority councilors Nestor Archival and Mary Ann Delos Santos sought clarification on the errors regarding the LDRRMF and what would happen if the revenue targets were not met. 

Pesquera assured them that control mechanisms are in place.

“That’s why in our proposed ordinance, we put in control mechanisms that in case the collection will not be, let’s say for 2024, the collection or targets will not be realized, the amount that will be considered as continuing will only be based on the actual collection. The same tenure that we did for this year,” Pesquera said.

Wenceslao added that the adjustment on the LDRRMF is still within the bounds of the law, citing his committee report that the appropriation for the total annual budget would not exceed P50 billion.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and the executive department have yet to specify what measures they will take on the slashed budget. 

Rama, who, as mayor, can veto the council-approved budget ordinance, previously asked the council to approve a P100 billion annual budget for next year. – Rappler.com

Tax collection is biggest priority for 2024 – Cebu City councilors

Tax collection is biggest priority for 2024 – Cebu City councilors

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