BAGUIO CITY The City Council deferred for the second time the proposed P2.056 billion annual budget of the local government this year following concerns raised against some priority development projects funded under the city’s Annual Investment Plan (AIP).
While approving the proposed budgets of all the departments of the local government for this year, the local legislative body deferred action in the approval of the proposed P210 million earmarked for the construction of a multi-story pay parking facility in the vacant lot owned by the city located near the Baguio fire department and the P17 million set aside for the improvement of the perimeter of the Melvin Jones football ground that will serve as the relocation site of the night market vendors.
Currently, the local government is operating on a re-enacted budget which means that it is still using the P1.776 billion budget last year to ensure its continuous operations while awaiting the latest action of the local legislative body on the proposed budget for this year.
Some local legislators questioned the availability of funds for the planned construction of the multi-level parking facility because the city’s local finance committee relied on the proceeds of the proposed revision of the schedule of market values as the primary source of funds for the project when the ordinance relative to the said matter is still pending deliberations by the members.
On the other hand, some councilors also questioned the wisdom of relocating the night market vendors to the perimeter of the Melvin Jones football ground that will reportedly result to the supposed cutting of century-old trees in exchange for such business activity.
According to the concerned local legislators, the local government is not supposed to spend public funds simply to relocate the night market vendors to an area within the Melvin Jones area when the same is no longer pursuant to existing rules and regulations that parks are beyond the commerce of man.
Under the provisions of the Local government ode of the Philippines, the local legislative body is barred from deliberating proposals, except for the proposed budget for the current year once it was not able to enact the necessary appropriation ordinance during the preceding year.
Moreover, local governments are also given 90 days from the start of the year to approve the proposed budget for the year or else it will eventually permanently operate on a re-enacted budget once the prescribed grace period has lapsed without any council approval on the budget.
Members of the local legislative body are contemplating on whether to reduce the proposed budget by scrapping some items that have no definite source of fund or maintain the budget figures but will make the questioned projects the last priority once there will be no available funds to bankroll their implementation during the present year.
The council is expected to meet on Monday, January 15, 2018 to make its decision on whether or not to approve the proposed budget or request for another audience with the department heads to discuss the priority development projects of the city this year.
By Dexter . See