SPENDING FREEZE: Re-enacted city budget for 2019 short by P74M

Iloilo City Treasurer Jinny Hermano

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE Iloilo City government will have to tighten its belt as the 2019 annual budget for the city is short by P74 million, based on the projected income certified by the Local Finance Committee, according to City Treasurer Jinny Hermano.

“The exercise of partial veto by the city mayor on the annual budget of the city resulted in a re-enacted budget for the vetoed items and gave rise to a deficit of P74,994,671,” Hermano said.

According to Hermano, the city government cannot propose a supplemental budget this year because of the re-enacted budget.

“Subong indi na ta ka supplemental kay reenacted ang budget. Indi ta ka supplemental unless nga mga bag-o nga items siguro. Pero kon existing budget like MOOE indi ka na kadugang bisan partial. That’s why kinahanglan stick gid kita, indi ka kadugang sina,” he said.

“Since the budget for last year’s maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) is only equivalent for 11 months and we cannot propose a supplemental budget, we are deficit by P74 million,” he added.

The annual budget is actually the local government unit’s income reasonably projected as collectible for the ensuing fiscal year.



Hermano said that they would be recommending to the mayor to freeze some insignificant items.

“There are items nga gin-recommend namon kay Mayor nga i-freeze. May mga ara items nga indi masyado importante nga pwede man naton ma-forego, nga pwede i-freeze lang anay until mabaydan naton ang una naton nga obligasyones nga gina-require gid bayran naton according sa law,” he emphasized.

“This is to enable the Local Treasurer to come up with a cash flow analysis as basis for adjusting the cash program and the financial and physical targets of the City and avoid cash overdraft should the collections do not meet the projected deficit,” Hermano said in a letter addressed to the department heads.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Bedonia Jr., former regional director of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)-6 said in a text message that items which are not re-enacted can still be included in a supplemental budget.

“Ang akon take is that indi pwede ma-supplement ang re-enacted items but those nga indi re-enacted pwede,” he said.

On Dec 27, 2019, Espinosa signed the P2.318-billion annual budget for 2019 but with partial vetoes, particularly the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allocation to the City Mayor’s Office.

In his veto message, the mayor explained that aside from being ultra vires or beyond the legal authority and not allowed by law, some of the items like splitting the budget into two tranches were deemed prejudicial to public welfare.

“The provisions dividing the disbursement into two would not only affect but greatly prejudice the operation and functioning of different offices. It would not only cripple but will also slow down the performance and efficiency of every offices concerned as they will be limited in cases of emergency, contingency, lack of supplies, lack of personnel, and inadequate equipment,” he said.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod failed to override Espinosa’s veto on Jan. 8, 2019.

A day after, Espinosa directed the City Budget Officer to prepare all Allotment Release Orders (AROs) on the basis of the 2019 Annual Budget except for the vetoed items where the AROs should be based on the 2018 Annual Budget through Memorandum Order No. 6 series of 2019.

The City Budget Officer was also ordered to immediately release upon receipt the following:

-ARO for personal services and associated personal services costs for the whole year, ARO for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) for the whole year 2019;

-ARO for financial expenses for the whole year 2019; and

-ARO for Capital Expenditures.