By Roel T. Amazona
TACLOBAN CITY, Jan 30 (PNA) — The Sangguniang Panlungsod here on Wednesday approved a reduced budget for 2014, after a series of revisions taking into account the impact of super typhoon Yolanda to the citys local income.
During its regular session, the legislative body approved a P 550,781,436.57 million budget, about 50 percent lower than the original proposal of P960 million submitted by the executive branch last October 2013.
Among those affected by the budget cut is the City Health Office (CHO).
The approved budget no longer has allocation for the purchase of drug and medicines, for the premium payment to Philhealths sponsored program, maintenance of rural health centers and mosquitoe control program that aims to solve the dengue problem.
Last year, the acquisition of medicines was allotted P6 million, P4.8 million for payment of premium, P300 for maintenance of rural health centers, and P500,000 for the mosquitoe control program.
The maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) was also reduced to P61 million from P362 million last year; electricity at P30 million from 2013s P41 million; P16.5 million for gasoline from P34 million and office supplies at P10 million from P12.5 million in 2013.
The reduced budget will greatly affect the city, especially in the delivery of basic health services, said vice mayor Jerry Yaokasin when asked to comment on the matter after their session.
We cannot totally rely on foreign groups who are here to help us. We need to have local support so that when the time comes for these groups to leave, we can do it on our own, he said.
Yaokasin said that subsidy from national government agencies like the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Bulwagan ng Katarungan was also temporarily terminated for this year.
He appealed to the national government "to continue providing support to the devastated areas, especially Tacloban, to enable its residents to really move forward after the sufferings they are right into due to the typhoon.
This is not the right time for politicking, but the time to work together so we can achieve what we are aiming for — to have a better city, a better and safer place for our people to live in, the vice mayor stressed. (PNA)