The city government of Zamboanga under the leadership of Mayor John Dalipe has started the process of coming up with a proposed 2023 executive budget of roughly P4.9 billion, which is short by around P7 million compared to this year’s executive budget of P5 billion.
In his message during the budget forum Monday afternoon, Mayor Dalipe urged the participants to look at the budget of the city as a responsibility that will motivate everybody to work together even as he reiterated his campaign advocacy: “El sen de govierno, sen ese del gente y debe devolbe otravez na gente,..” through infra projects, social services and development initiatives.
“I want all of you to take this moment as a chance to reflect on what needs to be improved and developed [as] we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past where the money of the people was placed into waste for personal convenience,” Dalipe said, stressing that in his administration he wants to give solutions to the problems that remain unsolved by any previous administrations.
This time, the young chief executive has encouraged everyone to help him build a pavement where progress is inclusive, development is real, and change speaks of unity.
At the forum were the city department heads, their assistants, division chiefs, executive assistants, administrative officers and civil society organization (CSO) representatives.
Dalipe challenged them to dream big and to work harder “because we are headed to a greater scheme of progress and development with sincerity in service, where we put Zamboanga City first.”
Meanwhile, City Budget Officer Geraldine dela Paz, chair of the Local Finance Committee which initiated the budget forum, explained that the 2023 budget is based on the city’s actual collections at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Dela Paz further explained that the National Tax Allotment (NTA), formerly known as the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), is computed on the actual collections of three years prior to the budget year. Hence, the city’s 2023 budget computation is based on the actual collections in 2020, which was the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore, a significant decrease was incurred.
“Now, we feel the effect of the pandemic on our budget… ara pa lang quita man feel el effect del Covid na di atun budget,” dela Paz told the forum.
In comparison, the city’s total revenue in 2022 was P5,606,580,367.00, which significantly dropped to P4,904,887,230.00 in 2023, marking a 12.52 percent or P701,693,137.00 decrease.
Of these amounts, the city’s NTAs were P4,782,763,367 in 2022 and P4,090,702,230.00 in 2023, registering a decrease of P692,061,137.00 or 14.47%. Thus, Zamboanga City appears very dependent on NTA by 83.54 percent.-(Vic Larato)