Mayor Romualdez called for the special session

TACLOBAN CITY- The members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod here has approved the P2.026 billion budget for the city for next fiscal year during a special session on Friday (Oct. 29) as requested  by Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
The special session, presided by Councilor and majority floor leader Evangeline Esperas, passed the P2,026,234,767.00 2022 budget without much deliberations.
The 2022 annual budget is relatively higher compared to the current budget of P1.418 billion.
Mayor Romualdez, in his October 28,2021 letter to the members of the council headed by Vice Mayor Jerry ‘Sambo’ Yaokasin, sought for the councilors to hold a special session to approve and pass the ‘people’s budget.’
In his letter, Romualdez said that there is a pressing need for the immediate approval of the 2022 city budget as it continues to address the health pandemic caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The need for the immediate passage of the People’s Budget will be of big help to enact formally the prioritized recovery programs. Likewise, this will not only provide positive results for the Tacloban populace but as well better economic opportunities since programs that will attract investors are included in the 2022 people’s budget,” the city mayor said.
Based on the newly-approved city budget for next fiscal year, the city government continue to rely more of its income from its national share of taxes in the amount of P1,284,084,757.
For next year, Tacloban received a higher share of national tax collection, previously known as internal revenue allotment amounting to P33.476 million due to the Mandanas ruling giving local government units a higher share of taxes.
The city will source its expenditure from local sources of revenue amounting to P635,150,000.
Its other sources include the P5 million from the Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office share and ‘other sources’ amounting to P102 million.
Out of the P2.026 billion 2022 budget, P559,366, 129.19 is for personnel services; P757,516,776.20 for maintenance and other operating expenditures; calamity fund of P96,231,737.85; aid to barangays, P138,000; capital outlay, P203,188,468.30; citywide development project, P325,682,731.19;  domestic loan, P25,928,028.12 and principal,  P 58,202,885.15.
Meantime, Vice Mayor Yaokasin said that Mayor Romualdez did not include attachments on the local revenue and expenditure program as mandated under the country’s local government code.
But this claim of Yaokasin was refuted by the members of the committees on finance and appropriations and rules saying that the needed documents were submitted by the office of Romualdez and the deliberations of the 2022 budget followed the process.
Aside from Esperas, present during the special session were Councilors Elvira Casal, Aimee Grafil, Leo Bahin, Dalisay Erpe, Brian Granados, and Thomas John Diaz, city federation president of the Sangguniang Kabataan.
Among the no-show during the special session were Councilors Jose Mario Bagulaya, Nikki Chua, Edmund Edward Chua, Rachelle Pineda and Eden Pineda, president of the Association of Barangay Chairman.