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Optimizing local funds: Naga focuses on nat’l gov’t–funded projects

By Jason B. Neola


SAYING that “things are looking good for Naga,” Mayor Nelson Legacion reported to a jam-packed Naga City People’s Hall on Monday that the city government had generated around P1.5 billion from the national government to finance the construction of various infrastructure projects for the year 2024.


“We do not need to spend our own money for the construction of various facilities that we have in mind since the city government is able to access funds from different offices and agencies of the national government,” he said.


The city mayor told the employees of the local government that, like any other LGU, the lion’s share from the city government’s 2024 budget of P1.65 billion would go to personnel services, such as salaries, incentives, and other benefits, totalling P689 million.


Under general services, the city allocated P158 million for the salaries and other benefits of contractual and ‘job order’ employees. This amount brings the total to P847 million, representing 51% of the annual budget of the LGU for the current year.


The second-largest allocation, P510 million, goes to social services, including the allocation for various health programs of the city. P265 million of that amount is intended for the operations of the City Health Office, the Naga City General Hospital, and the city government’s primary healthcare facilities.


In education, the city has allocated P239 million, from which the P109 million allocation for the construction of new school buildings will be sourced. Included in that budget is the P130 million for the Special Education Fund (SEF), falling under the social services category. The city, therefore, has a total budget of P640 million for its social services, the second-largest allocation after personnel services.


Other allocations under social services include the City Social Welfare and Development Office (P62 million), Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (P60 million), Persons with Disability Affairs office (P60 million), the city’s scholarship program (P6 million), the Quality Universal Education Empowerment in Naga (QUEEN) program and Sanggawadan (P16 million).


In economic services, the city allocated P251 million, with the Naga City People’s Mall receiving the largest slice of P71 million, and the budget for the waste-water treatment facility in the amount of P27 million will be sourced.


The city’s 2023 budget was P1,511,000,000.00 (P1.511 billion) or lower than this year’s P1.650 billion by P138 million or 8.39%.


With the increase in this year’s budget, the city government sees the opportunity to implement its plan this year to raise the salaries of ‘job order’ and contractual personnel, as promised by the city mayor last year.


MAYOR Legacion’s victorious smile lights up the crowded Naga City People’s Hall as he proudly shares with his co-workers at the city government the successful sourcing of over a billion pesos for crucial infrastructure projects of Naga.


Legacion’s successful acquisition of funds from different offices and agencies of the national government received a favorable response from the elated employees who told him to continue like what the Sorsogon City and other LGUs are doing to achieve infrastructure development.


The mayor was able to continuously generate funds from the national government despite the fact that the city government officials have no political allies who can be of help in securing funds for the city government’s infrastructure development and other projects.


Recently, the city government received a check from the Dept. of Health worth P110 million. The fund, which was acquired thru the AKO Bicol partylist, will be spent as medical assistance for indigent patients (MAIP). The funds were sourced by Legacion through Congressman Zaldy Co, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.


The city will also receive from the national government through the AKO Bicol P100 million for the rehabilitation of the Jesse M. Robredo Coliseum.


A fund in the amount of P20 million was also committed to the city by Sen. Bong Go. The fund will be spent to complete the equipment needed at the city’s Dialysis Center. In 2023, the senator sent P20 million intended for the procurement of various hospital equipment at the Naga City General Hospital.


The list of other projects for the year 2024 that secured funding assistance from the national government through the mayor’s initiative:


o Building to be constructed at Plaza Quezon, P190 million from the office of Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa acquired through the effort of City Councilor Ramon Melvin “Omar” Buenafe.


o Construction of structures at Paseo de San Francisco, P30 million from the office of Sen. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian.


o Construction of Bagumbayan Sur-Queborac Road, P15million from the office of Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, who is also the source of funds spent to expand the road from Magsaysay Avenue to the Naga City Science High School.


o Construction of the proposed Naga City Convention Center, P100 million from the office of Sen. Joel Villanueva, who earlier provided the city with P100 million for the construction of the Center for Safety and Resiliency (CeSaR), the construction of this facility is now going on.


o Construction of the Farm-to-Market Road in Barangay Carolina, P10-M from the office of Sen. Lito Lapid.


o Construction of Farm-to-Market Road in Barangay Cararayan, P39-M and in Panicuason, P13-M; and the construction of various infrastructure projects of which the budget amounting to around P700-M was obtained thru the assistance of the Department of Public Works and Highways.


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