By Armie B. Gunay
NAGA CITY --- Mayor John G. Bongat has submitted to the Sangguniang Panlungsod the city’s proposed annual budget for the year 2018 in the amount of P1,138,780,544.31 which is slightly higher than the 2017 budget of P1,111, 041, 440.30.
Still, if approved, it will remain the highest budget for any city in Bicol and the only one breaching the P1B budget mark.
Job and livelihood creation, services in health, and education and solid waste management program remain in the priority list, along with other development projects to be undertaken by the city government in the coming year.
As reflected in the proposed budget, the City Government will be sustaining its support for education— making opportunities especially for the less privileged families to send their children to school— setting aside P13M budget for scholarships.
Pushing forth to improve its social welfare services, the proposed budget also includes P20.14M 000.00 for food supplies expenses for the patient’s meal. This will include those in the city hospitals (the Naga City Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Infirmary), as well as the wards at the Naga City Children’s Home.
The family beneficiaries of Sanggawadan will also be benefitted by the allocated food supplies as well as the feeding programs for the malnourished children of the Naga City Population and Nutrition Office, among others.
It also includes P19.60M for drugs and medicines of the city health facilities, while P6.3M will be for dental and laboratory equipment, to further beef up its health programs.
As the city also tries to respond to rising demand for infratsructures, a big bulk of the budget amounting to P67M will be allotted for road projects and other infrastructure and building constructions.
With its thrust also in capacitating its people with necessary knowledge and skills especially during emergencies, a budget of P57M will be for the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF)— to be used in various basic life support and first aid skills trainings, as well as in acquiring necessary emergency supplies for relief goods operations, to better the city preparations and response to unwanted disasters that could strike.
As part also of the safety and security initiatives of the city government, P5M will go to the installation of new streetlights particularly in the minor city streets and alleys, to ensure safety for the walking public and students, especially at night.
With the continuous undertakings in the waste management program of the city, P16.75M will be used for the acquisition of additional garbage trucks— for more efficient garbage collection, while other solid waste management programs will be given a P40.70M under the Local Development Fund (LDF).
Under still the LDF, which is a separate fund of the city for major development projects, initiatives for the rehabilitation of the Naga River will get P11.39M.
Reflective in the city budget is the comparatively lower dependency of the city government upon the national government’s allocation for the city (Internal Revenue Allocation)— comprising only 46% of its budget fund, than that of the city’s own income (local revenue sources).
Meanwhile, the proposed budget is still under scrutiny by the Sangguniang Panlungsod while budget hearings are still being regularly conducted by the Committee on Appropriations with the active participation of the Naga City People’s Council (NCPC), Liga ng mga Barangay and women’s and various organizations.