MAKATI CITY – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) rejected this year’s budget of the Makati City government amid the opposition bloc’s move to defer its approval.
In its March 14 letter, the DBM declared the local government’s budget “inoperative in its entirety effective immediately” because it has failed to adhere to “the budgetary requirements as well as other provisions of law.”
The department noted that in the city council’s budget, the “total appropriations exceed the estimates of income” by P1.37 million, which is not in accordance with Section 324(a) of R.A. No. 7160 and Local Budget Circular No. 112 dated June 10, 2016 (Budget Operations Manual for LGUs). The said provision under the Local Government Code (RA 7160) requires that “the aggregate amount appropriated shall not exceed the estimates of income.”
The DBM also observed that the appropriations provided for some programs, projects and activities in the City Ordinance were “higher than the amounts reflected in the approved Annual Investment Program (AIP).”
The councilors allotted an amended budget of P52,568,300 to Volunteer Management System, which exceeded its approved AIP amount of P2,921,300 by P49,647,000. Similarly, the revised DRRM Awards budget of P40,558,794 surpassed its AIP amount by P22,070,794.
Moreover, the revised budget failed to comply with the laws governing the use of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF), which require a 30-percent allocation for Quick Response Fund (QRF).
As a consequence, there was a deficiency amounting to P841,806.00 for QRF and a corresponding excess budget of the same amount for Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Fund (DPMF).
These were the same items mentioned by Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay in her veto message to the revised city budget for 2019 which the opposition councilors disregarded and insisted on passing their version of the appropriation.
“The amended budget of the opposition bloc of the Sanggunian is inconsistent with existing laws, grossly disproportionate and does not promote equitable distribution of the city’s resources. It is unfortunate that the opposition councilors have remained blind to the errors and glaring inequality that they have caused, and again missed the opportunity to rectify the disservice they have done to the people of Makati,” Makati City Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo said.
As a result of the defects in the revised budget passed by opposition members of the city council, more than 10,000 city government employees were not able to receive the increase in their salaries. Under the rules of the Commission on Elections, the giving of salary increase, remuneration or privilege to government workers is strictly prohibited during the campaign period.
The budget delay has also hindered the city’s compliance with pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code and with assessment criteria for the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) and Local Legislative Awards (LLA) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Lagdameo pointed out that with the adverse action of the DBM, there was no enough time to beat the election ban on salary increases as well as other city government projects.