January 29, 2023

The city government has submitted its proposed P1,904,482,458 budget for 2021 to the Department of Budget and Management for review.

The amount is 15.54 percent less than last year’s budget of P2,255,000,000.

City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente said the budget is the sum of the respective budgets of city government departments approved by the city council.

The Covid-19 pandemic casted a pall over the deliberations, Clemente said, with the august body deciding to reduce the budgets of national government offices specifically allowances amounting to around P5 million as part of belt-tightening measures.

She said the council has the authority to reduce a submitted budget.

Capital outlays for non-essential projects, programs, and activities have also been removed from next year’s budget, Clemente added.

Also reduced by around 11 percent is the city government’s maintenance and other operating expenses, such as supplies and materials, transportation, travel, trainings, and repairs among other things.

Clemente, however, assured there will be no reduction in the number of city government employees, including job orders next year.

“All of the city’s job orders are with the Public Order and Safety Division, which the city intends to maintain,” she said.

During the deliberations, the city council focused on whether the city’s resiliency and recovery plans for the Covid-19 are captured in the budget.

“While the city will continue to provide basic services to the public as provided by the Local Government Code, programs for the new normal will also be factored in,” she said.

She said the city is projecting a loss of more or less P200 million in expected income due to the pandemic that has wreaked havoc to the local economy, especially on the tourism sector. – Gaby B. Keith