THE Quezon City government needs at least a P19-billion budget for 2018, or P2 billion more than its 2017 appropriation.
In an interview, city administrator Aldrin Cuña said the administration of Mayor Herbert Bautista has proposed an increase in next year’s budget “because we are looking forward to the lifting of a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court.”
Cuña was referring to the directive of the Supreme Court en banc in April against QC Ordinance No. 2556 of 2016, stopping the implementation of the fair market value of lands and basic unit construction costs for building and other structures.
“The city government is just awaiting the resolution of the high court after we and the Office of the Solicitor General submitted a memorandum [in reply to the TRO],” he told the Manila Standard.
“We just raised that we have followed the procedural requirements,” Cuña added.
The case stemmed from a petition of the Alliance of Quezon City Homeowners Association Inc. (AQCHI) against the Office of the City Mayor, Assessor’s Office and Treasury Office, describing the city government’s new tax rates as “unjust and excessive.”
The high court directed the respondents to comment on the petition within 10 days from notice.
“I understand our reply is already submitted for resolution,” Cuña said, adding they are confident of the lifting of the TRO.
“We got an information that the registration of AQCHI with the Securities and Exchange Commission has been revoked. It has no corporate personality to file a petition,” he added.
According to the city administrator, 43.37 percent of next year’s budget, or an estimated P8.2 billion, shall go to social services; 33.32 percent (P6.33 billion) to general services; and 17.27 percent (P3.28 billion) to economic services.
Legislative services for the vice mayor’s office and city council would only eat up 6.03 percent (P1.14 billion), Cuna said.
“Councilors are lawmakers. They cannot execute projects,” he added.
Cuna, the 37-member city council, and city department heads worked overtime to pursue the deliberation of the 2018 budget proposal.
Cuña said the city council presided over by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte will take up the 2018 budget appropriation on second reading on Nov. 20, to be followed by the third and final reading on Dec. 4.
Bautista must then approve the budget ordinance after councilors pass it.
“Then, the budget appropriation will be transmitted to the Department of Budget and Management (for review),” the city administrator said.