By Danny P. Aureus
NAGA CITY --- Known for its best practices and good governance, the city government here took another innovative step to directly involve the citizenry in the examination and appropriation of its annual budget.
In a public presentation facilitated by the Naga City People’s Council, the Sangguniang Panglunsod put into public scrutiny the city government’s 2019 annual budget that amounted to P1.3B, the highest so far among the city governments in the Bicol region.
In an interview, Vice Mayor and Sanggunian Presiding Officer Nelson Legacion said the public presentation is meant to ensure that stakeholders and various representatives of different non-government organizations (NGOs), People organizations, other civic clubs and barangay officials are empowered to be part in the preparation and approval of the city budget, which after all are to be appropriated with taxes and revenues collected from the people themselves.
It has been admitted that people can only become assertive and effective when they are made aware of their rights, as well as the affairs of the government.
City Budget Officer explained during the public presentation at the Blue Room inside city hall how the budget will be spent.
After a series of previous hearings and consultations, the Sangguniang Panglunsod is prepared to pass and approve the 2019 annual budget amounting to P1,305,879,529.88, which is 9%, or P107,098,985.57 higher than the present 2018 annual budget of P1,198,780,544.31. Such over one billion peso annual budget is once again the highest for cities and municipalities in Bicol.
Mendoza explained that the bigger budget is based on projected increased collection of P31,745,000.00 in tax revenues, P9,363,812.50 in non-tax revenues, and P19,316,821.07 to be derived from income from local economic enterprises. Also the city is expected to be appropriated with P616,974,794.00 in its internal revenue allotment for 2019, which is P56,543,352.00 higher than its 2018 IRA.
For two fiscal years now, Naga is the only city in Bicol that breached the P1B annual budget, paving its way to the elite list of the country’s “billionaire cities.”