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Mayor Climaco urges opposition councilors to pass Zamboanga City’s 2021 budget

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Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco has renewed her call to the opposition councilors to approve the proposed P4.38-billion budget for next year.

The local chief executive said the continued delay in the approval by the City Council of the 2021 Executive Budget may have serious impact in the delivery of various government programs and basic services to the public, including vital infrastructure projects amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The 2021 Executive Budget designed by Doctor Dulce Miravite and the City Government’s local finance committee ensure that we will be able to have a buffer (fund) once the contract of our contact tracers expire, however, we cannot even train contact tracers if we do not have the budget because this is important in our Covid-19 pandemic response,” Climaco said.

“That is why we in the Executive Department respectfully appeal to the august body to grant the approval of the 2021 budget because we are experiencing a pandemic and it is already November,” she added, citing previous budget approval were not as delayed as it is now.

She said the 98 barangays are dependent on the subsidy given out by the local government to fund various programs.

“I have spoken to some barangay chairpersons and they said that the subsidy is very, very important for them,” the mayor said.

“But everything depends on the approval of the executive budget which is now pending with the Sangguniang Panlungsod. And the City finance committee, and all the department heads as well as the Executive Department have fully complied with the Department of Budget memorandum circular which specify the required documents that will be submitted for the approval of the budget,” she explained.

She reminded the opposition that under the Local Government Code, the Department of Budget and Management has only a 90-day period within which to review the appropriations ordinance to ensure its compliance with the budgetary requirements and general limitations.

Section 323 of the Local Government Code states that “if the Sanggunian concerned fails to pass an ordinance authorizing the annual budget, it shall continue to hold sessions, until such ordinance is approved, and no other business may be taken up during such sessions. Basic rule in statutory construction that where the language of the law is clear, it must be applied according to its express terms.”

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