July 24, 2024

Baguio City managed to keep its 2020 budget intact despite the Covid-19, thanks to Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s resourcefulness and diligence in securing the city’s financial and logistical needs while in crisis.
City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias said the city government barely spent funds from its own coffers for the Covid-19 control measures because of the mayor’s efforts to solicit donations of personal protective equipment, masks, testing kits, and critical equipment like polymerase chain reaction machines and automated extraction machines.
“We did not spend much from our own budget and we are very grateful that we have a mayor like him,” Cabarrubias told the City Hall Hour press briefing June 30. 
The mayor said he wanted to preserve the city’s funds to avoid disrupting the delivery of services to the different sectors amid the pandemic.
He also hopes to pursue the development projects lined up this year to help the city bounce back from the economic slump and pursue its recovery and resiliency program.
The city’s expenses for the Covid-19 operations were drawn from the P78 million assistance received from the national government and the donations both in cash and in kind from numerous private groups and individuals.
City Accountant Antonio Tabin said the disbursement of the funds received was in accordance with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act guidelines.  
The city appropriated P150M from its own funds for the Covid operations culled from savings from the Local Development Fund for unimplemented projects in the previous years, which were found to be not feasible anymore. But since the city received at lot of donations, only a small amount was also used for Covid-related expenses.
City officials then decided to use the P100M of the amount for its economic stimulus package program, which will provide loans to micro, small and medium enterprises to help them bounce back from the effects of the health crisis.
Tabin said the city’s 2020 budget has remained intact along with its calamity fund and the Local Development Fund.
This means that the city can implement all the projects it lined up for this year anytime. 
Since the mayor assumed office, he raised an initial amount of P1.05 billion in pledges from various national government sources to finance major city projects lined up for implementation supposedly this year. – Aileen P. Refuerzo