The City Council of Manila has unanimously approved the proposed P14.88-billion budget of the city for 2018.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada described next year’s appropriation as a “people’s budget” because a bigger portion of the funds are earmarked for health and social welfare programs for the underprivileged residents of the city.
“I thank the city council for passing the budget ordinance in a record time… it took only a few days,” Estrada said.
“For 2018 and the next years to come, Manileños, in particular the needy individuals and families, can expect more social welfare programs from the city government,” Estrada added.
Sitting en banc, the Sangguniang Panlungsod on Nov. 2 passed on third and final reading Ordinance No. 8530, appropriating P14.88 billion as the Executive Budget of the City of Manila for fiscal year 2018, which is identical to this year’s budget.
First District Councilor Ernesto Dionisio, chairman of the committee on appropriations, said the 2018 appropriation ordinance, which he sponsored, faced “smooth sailing” during the deliberations and voting.
“Mayor Erap calls it the ‘people’s budget’ because it will support basically his economic projects for the people of the City of Manila,” he said in an interview.
“And if not for the Oct. 31 holiday, we could have enacted it sooner,” Dionisio added.
Bigger allocations, Dionisio said, were set aside for social welfare and poverty alleviation programs and engineering, specifically for various infrastructure projects such as road and drainage repairs and construction, and installation of new street lights in the communities.
Once signed by Estrada, the budget ordinance will be published in major newspapers before being sent for review to the Department of Budget and Management along with the pertinent supporting documents, the councilor explained.
From the P14.88-billion budget, social services got the biggest slice of the pie at P5.82 billion.
These include city hall offices such as Manila Health Department, Department of Public Services, the Manila Department of Social Welfare, and the six city-run hospitals.
MHD, which started the distribution of free maintenance medicines to chronically-ill senior citizens and qualified beneficiaries this year, as directed by Estrada, has the biggest budget of P1.03 billion.
General services, to include the Office of the Mayor and executive offices and major departments, were given P3.06 billion, and economic services got P2.11 billion.
The Department of Engineering and Public Works, which belongs to the economic services sector, was allotted P1.9 billion.
Meanwhile, the two city-run universities, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and the Universidad de Manila, were allotted with P440 million and P285 million, respectively.
The Estrada administration’s major programs were also apportioned with substantial funds such as the hospital modernization, P100 million; public market renovation, P50 million; street lights, P300 million; and PhilHealth Para sa Masa, P200 million.
Another P50 million was also set aside for the city computerization program, including the “E-permit” project for faster processing of permits and licenses application.
Meanwhile, P10 million was set aside for scholarship grants for poor students, and P50 million for the feeding program for pre-school, primary, and grade school students.