July 23, 2024

The city government’s Local Finance Committee (LFC) is capacitating barangays on financial management to help its officials be able to come up with their annual barangay budgets on time for review and approval of the city council.

City Budget Officer and LFC head, Atty. Leticia Clemente, said the office has also been conducting orientation workshops for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials to deploy the barangay electronic budget system, which will soon be mandated to barangays for use in preparing their annual and supplemental budgets.

In her midyear budget report on June 10, Clemente said only about 10 percent of the city’s 128 barangays have approved and reviewed budgets at the beginning of the budget year.

To address this, Clemente said they have trained 466 barangay officials and 109 SK officials last May through a workshop aimed to orient them on the barangay e-budget system, which is now available for use by the barangays.

Clemente said the city council, through the Association of Barangay Councils president, will sponsor a resolution mandating all barangays to prepare and submit their budgets for review using the e-budget system.

In a training on the Local Government Code and basic barangay budget preparation provided by a non-government organization for barangay health workers and other barangay and SK officials early this year, some barangay officials admitted they meet challenges in budget preparations due to lack of knowledge, especially those who are newly elected into office.

“Our goal is for barangays to follow the prescribed timelines in preparing their annual and supplemental budgets…We believe our barangays would play a crucial role in bringing about economic stability in the city. One way is capacitating them on financial management,” she said.

The city government allots P653 million to barangays annually, 87 percent of which is from the National Tobacco Administration and 13 percent is derived from barangay sources.

The amount is not much, but if funds at the barangay level are managed efficiently through timely preparation and approval of their annual budgets, it will go a long way to supplement the city’s annual budget.

“A delay in the implementation of their programs, projects, and activities under the budget is also a denial of the service their constituents need,” Clemente said.

As the city approaches budget preparation season for 2025, Clemente reported the LFC last year submitted to the city council the budget one month earlier than the deadline, which the city council approved also a month before the end of the year.

“This year, we aim to do the same with the cooperation of the departments and the city council. It’s time to revisit our plans and programs and dialogue with our stakeholders including our line agency partners who are in the service of the city. This is to maximize the resources available to us and allow seamless implementation of programs,” she said.

Clemente also assured the LFC is involved in all financial studies needed in the city’s programs and projects to be able to provide recommendations that are advantageous to the city government and are crucial to policymakers in deciding whether to pursue or not certain program proposals. – Hanna C. Lacsamana