Pasig City Council approves P15-B proposed annual budget for 2023

After four weeks of meetings and deliberations, the 11th Pasig City Council has finally approved, on third and final reading, the proposed P15 billion annual budget of the city for fiscal year 2023.

During its regular session on Thursday, Nov. 10, the city council passed on third reading the Proposed Ordinance No. 23-2022 or the “Appropriations Ordinance of Pasig City for 2023.”

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto (center right), Vice Mayor Dodot Jaworski (center left), and the City Council. (Photo from Pasig PIO)

In attendance were Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and some representatives of the various offices and departments of the city government.

The executive office, headed by Sotto, submitted the proposed budget to the legislative body last Oct. 13.

It underwent four weeks of deliberations with each department and office meeting with the city council to answer and clarify concerns pertaining to the budget.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto. (Photo from Pasig PIO)

Sotto lauded the efforts of the Local Finance Committee and the city council in the passage of the appropriations ordinance, saying it was “with all certainty, unequivocally, the most exhaustive and thorough budget deliberations he has witnessed.”

“Sa kahit anong LGU, ang pinakaimportanteng trabaho ng Sangguniang Panlungsod at mga konsehal ay ang pagpasa ng budget. Kung walang budget, walang magagawa ang mayor. Kung walang appropriations ordinance, walang magagawa ang executive branch ng ating lokal na pamahalaan (In every LGU, the most important job of the city council and councilors is to pass the budget. The mayor can do nothing without a budget. If there is no appropriations ordinance, the executive branch of our local government cannot function),” Sotto said in his speech at the session hall.

“Ang binuo po nating budget ay magiging responsibo sa mga pangangailangan ng ating mga sinasakupan na mamamayang Pasigueno (The budget we submitted will be responsive to the needs of our constituents and every Pasig citizen),” he added.

Sotto heralded the synergy between the executive and legislative branches in helping “fill each other’s blind spots” to further improve the city’s programs and projects.

He also thanked the civil society organizations (CSOs) and volunteers who gave substantial feedback during the meetings and helped to strengthen people’s participation in policy-making and governance.

Pasig City Vice Mayor Dodot Jaworski. (Photo from Pasig PIO)

City Council Chairman and Vice Mayor Robert “Dodot” Jaworski Jr. also thanked the legislative body in approving the “historic” ordinance, saying it is “the largest budget the city of Pasig has ever seen.”

“We started budget deliberations on a very strict note. Isa lang po ang bilin ko sa aming city council – siguraduhin natin na ang bawat piso ng ating budget ay dapat mapunta sa taumbayan. ‘Iyan po ang usapan namin ni Mayor Vico from day one. Sisiguraduhin natin na papangalagaan natin ang sanctity ng ating opisina at ang pera ng taumbayan (I only asked the city council for one thing – to ensure that every peso of the budget will go to the people. That has been Mayor Vico and I’s agreement since day one. We will ensure to protect the sanctity of our office and the money that belongs to our citizens),” Jaworski said.

“Hindi lang po natin dapat gastusin ang pera ng tao, pero siguraduhin natin na magastos natin ito para iangat ang buhay ng bawat isang Pasigueno (We will not just spend our people’s money, but we will ensure that our expenses will be used to elevate the lives of every single Pasigueno),” he added.

Services for all sectors

Last Thursday, Nov. 3, City Councilor Maro Martires, chairperson of the Committee on Appropriation, Ways, and Means, presented the summary of the committee report on the proposed budget.

He stated the programs and projects highlighted by the government sectors pursuant to the budget.

For the social sector, the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) emphasized its initiatives for out-of-school youth (OSY), providing shelter to street children, cleaning streets through assisting street sweepers, and aiding other vulnerable groups.

For the health sector, the City Health Department (CHD) plans to expand the health programs being offered by the Pasig City General Hospital (PCGH) and the Pasig City Children’s Hospital (PCCH), as well as increasing awareness and accessibility of health programs to the public.

Through the Schools Division Office (SDO), the budget allotted to the education sector will be for the continuous improvement of school infrastructure, quality of education, and daycare services.

The report also noted the importance of the Peace and Order Department (POD)’s leadership in terms of the city’s safety and security, aligned with the initiatives of the other departments and sectors.

Covid-19 recovery remains at the center of the economic sector’s policy agenda. The budget also aims to aid the implementation of sustainable livelihood programs for citizens, in cooperation with the Public Employment Service Office (PESO).

For the infrastructure sector, the committee ensured their programs are in accordance with flood mitigation, and ensuring the integrity of constructed buildings and other infrastructure projects.

The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO), and other affiliate offices will focus on more efficient garbage collection, sustainable garbage disposal, and the development of the “Waste to Ayuda” program.

For the institutional or governance sector, the committee aims to reduce job order (JO) positions, add more plantilla positions, and increase benefits to government employees, particularly the provision of hazard pay, courtesy of the Human Resources Department (HRD).

The committee also asked for an efficient plan from every department and office to connect and coordinate all programs to more efficiently allocate the budget.

Martires stressed the committee body has received and included all discussions that transpired in the deliberation meetings in the committee report.