MNLF attack, massive flooding impair Zambo’s 2014 budget Print
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 10:55

Funding for some local infrastructures for next year will likely narrow down once the 2014 city’s annual budget is approved.

This was bared yesterday by Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, who headed last Monday’s City Council’s budget meeting.

The objective of the meeting was for city councilors to effect budget adjustments or re-alignments for next year’s already lined-up programs and projects to prioritize the most pressing and prevalent concerns brought about by the recent man-made and natural calamities that hit Zamboanga City.

Iturralde said that making adjustments for budget like this one, is not normal, since the whole budget process set forth by law is already done, even prior to the September 9 attack by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels, that left thousands of residents homeless, and the October 7 massive flooding affecting some 28 barangays.

He said that some projects that may likely be considered foregone next year would be the construction or concreting of barangay farm-to-market roads, waiting sheds, basketball and covered courts.

While he could not give a conservative estimate of the amount that would derive from these cancelled barangay projects, the vice mayor said, that its supposed allocation would be used to buy lands, where to temporarily rehabilitate, or permanently, relocate residents of Barangays Sta Barbara, Sta Catalina, Rio Hondo, Mariki, and Kasanyangan, whose houses got burned during the three-week intense fighting between MNLF rebels and military forces.

This, Iturralde said, “is because, although the national government has vowed for a P3.9-billion worth of housing aid for affected families, this amount could only cover on-site development of lands and construction of houses, while pinpointing and buying lands where to erect these houses are left upon the city government”.

“On the other hand, we also have to prioritize the reconstruction or rehabilitation of damaged rip-raps in many barangay rivers, as well as construction of more effective drainage control system in areas seriously affected by the recent floods,” Iturralde explained.

The City Council’s presiding officer, however, clarified that such funding adjustment is still subject to Crisis Management Council (CMC) Chairman, Mayor Beng Climaco’s concurrence and subsequent approval by City Budget Officer Virginia Gara.

The local legislature is about to enact the P2.4-billion city’s 2014 annual budget, next month. — Philip Abuy