March 4, 2007

DBM announces P17M increase in LC’s IRA share for 2007

EVEN if the city government’s annual budget for 2007 is still awaiting approval from the Sangguniang Panlungsod, a good news was given to city officials as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has announced that there would be a P17 million increase in Laoag’s internal revenue allotment (IRA) share for this year.

Ms Carlina Cumigad, city budget officer, said the P17 million increase will be added to the annual budget for Laoag this year, pushing the P304 million proposed budget to P321 million. As a result, the city is set to receive a total of P195,940,368 for this year as IRA share.

Cumigad however clarified that the said amount would be received on a monthly basis. The monthly amount would be P16,388,364.

With the increase in the city’s IRA share, the local finance committee is proposing to use some of the amount for salary increases for all city government employees, reasoning that there has been no salary hikes in the past five years.

The said proposal would allocated through a supplemental budget to be passed by the city council and with the approval of Laoag Mayor Michael V. Fariñas, Cumigad said, adding that it would still be the mayor who would have the final say on the salary increase.

Meanwhile, Fariñas thanked the DBM for the announced increase as he said that there would be more projects and programs to be implemented by the city government with this.

In a related development, the still unapproved proposed budget for the city government is still being deliberated upon by members of the city council.

The delayed passage of the ordinance, according to Cumigad, has affected the services to be given by the city government, specifically infrastructure projects.

Fariñas has also expressed surprise on why the city council is having a hard time passing the proposed budget since most of the allocations in the said proposal were the same as that of last year.

Fariñas however is hopeful that the council would soon pass the budget ordinance for the city government to move on with its programs for the people of Laoag.

The proposed budget was submitted by the executive branch of the city government in October last year.

Records show that the 2005 annual budget was approved on March 22, 2005 while the 2006 budget was approved on April 10,2006.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

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