July 23, 2024

The city council approved the P97 million supplemental budget to fund priority projects, but only after some councilors questioned how the projects to be funded were ranked by concerned offices.
During the Oct. 3 session, Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda raised a concern on how projects are prioritized for funding.
This came after the installation of directional signs in various streets was prioritized for funding over the request to rehabilitate a dilapidated walkway leading to a facility that caters to children and senior citizens in Irisan.
Tabanda asked the offices of the City Planning and Development and City Engineering the basis why the installation of the P2.6M worth directional signs was prioritized for funding over the P6M rehabilitation of a dilapidated pavement leading to the day care and senior citizens’ centers at Purok 15, Irisan.
“Is the installation of directional signs, which is more for tourists more important than the repair of dilapidated roads? Baguio residents can live in the next six months without the directional signs. Should this be prioritized over the rehabilitation of the dilapidated road causing (inconvenience) to children and elders who get soaked when it rains,” Tabanda said.
She added even without a score sheet, which is used as the basis in ranking projects to be prioritized for funding, common sense dictates that renovation of a dilapidated pavement is more immediate than installing directional signs.
The council earlier approved the supplemental Annual Investment Plan for 2022, which contained 35 projects, but 26 were allotted funds under the P97M supplemental budget. The repair of the dilapidated road at Purok 15, Irisan was not allotted a fund.
City Engineer Edgar Olpindo said when they submitted the list to the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), they expected that the 35 projects will be funded.
“We were expecting that all the 35 projects will be funded that is why we prepared all the projects for funding. The final list came from the CPDO,” he said.
To address the concern raised by Tabanda, Georgina Ngolab, who represented CPDO Head Donna Tabangin, agreed to the realignment of the P2.6M allotted for directional signs for the first phase of the repair of the dilapidated road.
Councilor Peter Fianza said although it was late for the city council to be questioning the projects in the supplemental AIP for 2022, he added the implementing offices and the CPDO should exercise prudence in the treatment of priority project.
“There is no question about the 35 projects, but with what happened today, I think there is a need for the council to be provided with copies of how these priority projects were ranked,” he said.
Among the other projects funded under the P97 supplemental budget are the renovation of City Hall premises worth P20M, improvement of various roads, rehabilitation of satellite markets, payment for Convention Center, documentary stamp tax and transfer of property worth P7M, and cultural mapping with P5.7M allocation.
Budget Officer Leticia Clemente said the P97M is from the city’s P119M surplus budget in 2021, which was from the savings from personal services and maintenance and other operating expenses. The city’s budget last year was P1.9 billion.
She said there will be another request for supplemental budget before the year ends, as there are requests from other offices for additional funds, some of which are for fuel expenses to cope with the increase in fuel prices. – Jane B. Cadalig