PB examines P12 billion budget
CEBU, Philippines — Several questions on the funding sources and the non-inclusion of an appointee of the previous administration in the P12 billion proposed budget of the Capitol next year has marred the first day of the deliberation by the members of the Committee on Budget and Appropriations of the Cebu Provincial Board yesterday.
Members of the committee headed by Board Member Glenn Soco questioned why part of the P9 billion allegedly promised by PhilHealth to be downloaded to the provincial government for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law (UHCL) starting next year was already included as one of the funding sources.
According to the committee members, there is no official document yet or timeline from PhilHealth when the downloading of funds is to be made. The alleged promise by PhilHealth officials during a meeting with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia last October 30 is still unofficial and could not be relied upon to finance the annual budget.
Provincial treasurer Atty. Roy Salubre said that P4.2 billion of the proposed annual budget will be sourced out from the funds to be downloaded by PhilHeath. The amount is a little over one-third of the P12 billion budget proposal of the governor.
Dr. Sheila Faciol, head of public health at the Cebu Provincial Health Office, admitted they do not have the guidelines yet from PhilHealth.
“Actually wala pa gyud sila nihatag og guidelines… wala siyay details,” Faciol said.
The P4.2 billion was merely a “conservative estimate” of the P9 billion promised by PhilHealth. Other funding sources include P700 million from local income, P3.2 billion from the cash savings, and P3.8 billion from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
The committee members also questioned why the Province of Cebu still projected revenue of P183 million from medical, dental and laboratory fees and P185 million from hospital fees from patients in the district and provincial hospitals for 2020 despite the implementation of UHCL.
“Considering Cebu will be piloting the Universal Health Care Law, ang kaning mga income nato sa mga hospitals… we don’t earn from hospitals man gud kay no balance billing man gud. Nya we have that 4.2 billion bitaw nga i-download dire sa atoa. Confusing lang nganong naay projected income,” said Board Member Andrei “Red” Duterte.
Salubre clarified that they made a mistake and promised that it will be deleted from the proposed budget.
Salubre said they will instead use the P180 million income from the increase in the fees for quarry operators and the rest will be sourced from real property tax.
“Naa ta’y 180 (million pesos) sa quarry so we will add. Ato na lang ning pun-an sa atong real property tax,” Salubre said.
He said they will revise the budget to exclude the projected income from hospitals. The revised version will be presented next week.
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Hilario Davide III questioned why the proposed 2020 budget did not include salary appropriation for former budget officer Danilo Rodas.
“I just want clarification kay I understand si Danny hasn’t collected his salary since August,” Davide asked.
Rodas, who was appointed by Davide as budget officer in 2015 after budget officer Emme Gingoyon was dismissed from the service by the Office of the Ombudsman, has not been receiving his salary since August.
Gingoyon appealed his dismissal before the Court of Appeals which downgraded his penalty into three months suspension. Davide claimed he tried to reinstate Gingoyon then but the latter refused allowing Rodas to occupy his position.
Rodas allegedly signed an undertaking that he will go back to his position as assistant budget officer as soon as Gingoyon agrees to be reinstated.
Noli Valencia, head of the Human Resource Department, explained that Rodas was not included in the proposed budget because he did not have an appointment from the governor designating him as Gingoyon’s assistant.
“Administrative order number one series of 2019 was issued by the governor then it was Emee Gingoyon who was recognized as budget officer. Based on that, we have no basis to put the name of Mr. Rodas as assistant considering that there was no appointment issued by the governor,” Valencia said.
Since the case against Rodas is still pending, the legitimacy of his occupancy as assistant department head relies on the decision of the Civil Service Commission.
“The undertaking is not an appointment, di man mopadagan ug pagkubra ug sweldo. Duna gyud tay appointment issued,” Valencia clarified in an interview.
He said Rodas’ case was already referred by the legal office to the Civil Service Commission. FPL (FREEMAN)