By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte expects to boost the city’s “depleted funds” with the termination of the P1.3-billion Special Education Fund time deposit.
But the termination could only be done by the Commission on Audit (COA), through the City Local School Board and City Treasurer.
“Thus, from the original P1.6 billion on hand, we now have about P2.9 billion. Hindi tayo pababayaan ng Diyos (God will not forsake us),” Belmonte said, stressing that the P1.3 billion will be mobilized exclusively for Quezon City youth.
At her oath-taking ceremony on Sunday, Belmonte clarified the current status of the city’s budget and funds after the public was informed that the previous administration had left P26.5 billion in the city’s coffers.
“This figure may sound impressive, but it behooves us to clarify where these funds are and how they can be used,” Belmonte said.
Based on the City Treasurer, City Budget Officer, and City Accountant, P4.6 billion of the said cash on hand and in bank are “funds in trust” or should be utilized only for specific uses, while P2 billion is allotted for long-term investments.
In addition, the city has to pay off all its obligations, which as of the end of May 2019, amounts P14.3 billion, leaving the city government with P5.6 billion cover the second half of the year.
“Assuming we are able to collect our expected revenues for the second half of the year, amounting to P6.4 billion, we will now have a total of P12 billion to cover our projected expenses for the rest of 2019 pegged at P10.4 billion pesos,” she explained further.
At the end of the year, Belmonte said the city will have roughly P1.6 billion in General Fund.
She also stressed that Quezon City, with a population of 3.1 million, will only have P516 budget for each resident.
Belmonte also noted that the Office of the Mayor was left with only P53 million which is only enough to build a four-story building.
But Belmonte assured city residents that she will ask the 21st City Council, led by Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, to convene immediately and enact a supplemental budget ordinance so that the city can utilize the P1.6 billion General Fund.
“This is not just my time, this is our time – the time for Quezon City to claim its place among the best, the most progressive, and most livable cities in the country. With the help of Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, our City Council, our Department heads, the people of Quezon City, and by the grace of God, we hope to accomplish these and much, much more,” she concluded.