Celso hopes next mayor will pursue sound fiscal mgt. PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:37

Mayor Celso Lobregat once again took pride yesterday in the sound fiscal management of his administration that resulted in a well-balanced budget of the city government even as he wished that the next mayor will not be somebody who will squander everything the city has made over the years.

“I hope and pray the next mayor will be able to continue the vision in managing the finances of the city and we hope somebody will not squander everything we have,” Lobregat told the participants of the Executive Budget Forum for Fiscal Year 2013.

“There are decisions to be made, and I hope we will not be mesmerized by their promises and do not be scared of guns and goons. This is a decision we have to make,” Lobregat further said as he pointed out that when he assumed office in 2004, there was hardly any budget for infrastructure projects.

In 2004, he said the city’s Personal Services accounted for the biggest slice of the annual budget with P418 million, while the appropriation for projects was only P159 million. “That is not even the budget of our Integrated Bus Terminal, not even within the budget for our Limaong Bridge project today,” the mayor said.

According to him, it was only in 2005 when the city’s annual budget started to take new direction with new priorities that focused on raising local tax collection and increasing appropriations for projects and social services.

“It was in 2010 when we reaped the fruits of our sound fiscal management by bringing down the General Services, which used to be the highest over the years, from 46% to a record low of 30%, while increasing the Social Services component of the budget from 29% to 40% in 2012,” Lobregat said.

On local revenues, the chief executive said the city government was only collecting P265 million in 2005, but with sound fiscal management in place it
slowly yet steadily increased to P326 million in 2006, P408 million in 2007, P448 million in 2008, P485 million in 2009, P501 million in 2010, P567 million in 2011, and the projected local tax collection for 2012 is P620 million.

On top of that, he added the city’s budget has substantially increased so do the appropriations for social services, maintenance and other operating expenses, projects and capital outlay and personal services, but on a well-balanced appropriation.

Present during the budget forum were city department heads and their assistants, administrative officers and division chiefs, high school principals, and the judiciary from municipal to regional trial courts. — Vic Larato