BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The 2023 annual budget of P3.250 billion submitted by Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez maintains a status quo with the previous year’s budget.
This is the third instance the city hit the three-billion-mark, following fiscal year 2020’s P3 billion and FY 2022’s P3.25 billion.
Bacolod Councilor Jude Thaddeus Sayson, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Finance, said he will schedule committee hearings on the P3.250 billion annual budget after the All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
He will start with the City Budget Office to ask them to explain the 2023 annual budget it prepared and afterwards, they will meet with the different line departments of the city government.
Sayson said the payroll of regular employees comprise the biggest bulk of the budget, amounting to about 45 percent, followed by the 20 percent Development Fund and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) Fund which is mandated by law.
The newest item added to the annual budget is the BacCHP, which amounts to an initial P50 million allotted by the mayor, and partial amount of P5 million for senior citizens, which can be augmented as they go along, he said.
The fund sources of the 2023 annual budget are local sources amounting to P1,390,791,418 and the National Tax Allotment amounting to P1,859,208,582.
The distribution of the budget is as follows: Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses – P1,413,999,055 (43.51 percent); Personal Services – P910,710,570 (28.02 percent); Special Purpose Appropriation – P357,957,665 (11.01 percent); 20 percent Development Fund – P357,841,720 (11.01 percent); Property, Plant and Equipment – P147,074,470 (4.53 percent); and Financial Expenses – P62,416,520 (1.92 percent).
In his budget message addressed to Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and members of the SP, Benitez said the city continues to enjoy the effects of the Supreme Court decision in the consolidated cases of Mandanas, et al vs. Executive Secretary and Garcia et al vs Executive Secretary. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation as a whole has resulted in a general decrease in the amount of national taxes collected.
“Despite the decrease in the National Tax Allotment of the city, we enjoy stability attributing to our local sources. It is safe to say that the City of Bacolod has bounced back and is well within the path toward recovery, as the collection of real property tax, other local taxes, regular fees, and other non-tax revenues have all experienced a significant increase effected by our innovated tax collection efforts and unrelenting promotion of investment-friendly policies and programs,” he added.*