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Prov approves 2021 budget on 2nd reading
By: Lianne Llesol | Published Wednesday, November 25, 2020
The Cebu Provincial Board approved on second reading the P15-billion budget for 2021. Gov. Gwen Garcia personally defended the budget during the Board’s out-of-town session in Daanbantayan town. (Tonee Despojo)

The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) approved on second reading the P15-billion budget of the Province of Cebu for 2021 during its last out-of-town session for the year held in Daanbantayan town Monday, November 23. 

Dubbed as the “budget of hope,” Governor Gwendolyn Garcia aims to revive, through next year’s budget, the economy of Cebu which was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In crafting the 2021 budget, we took a major strike by opting to increase by over 25% instead of decreasing, in recognition of the nine-month stagnation caused by restrictions brought about by Covid-19,” the governor said.

Garcia emphasized that 2021 will be the “year of hope and accomplishment” for Cebu with the Capitol focusing on infrastructure improvement aimed to reactivate and revitalize the economy.

In the development plan approved by the Provincial Development Council on November 11, around P8 billion is allotted for the concreting of 450 kilometers of provincial roads and 100 kilometers of barangay roads, as well as the improvement of water systems to Level 3 in the different towns in the province.

The governor expressed confidence that the Provincial Government can achieve this “historic budget” through strict implementation of the Provincial Revenue Code and other ordinances as well as a more efficient tax collection.

She identified the locally generated revenues from sand and gravel resources and real property taxes, internal revenue allotment and Philhealth funds for the Universal Health Care Law implementation as possible sources of funds for the 2021 budget. 

Budget for Covid-19 management is also included and this will cover the procurement of medicines, supplies, and vitamins.

With the Province’s recovery rate and bed capacity for Covid-19 cases of which barely 20 percent is being used, she said people are learning how to manage the disease.

“Covid is here. We live with it and manage it the same way we lived with other diseases. Managing it must not be tantamount to shutting down the economy,” the governor emphasized.

Sixth District Board Member Glenn Anthony Soco, chairman of the Committee on Budget and Appropriations, expressed that the increase in budget is “very welcoming and inspiring.”

“This is a message of hope to Cebuanos. In 2021, Cebuanos can expect more projects which would bring more economic benefit and speed up the economic recovery of the Province,” he added.

Garcia thanked Vice Governor Hilario Davide III and all of the PB members for supporting the budget, going beyond their political differences.

Cebu Province’s 2021 budget was approved on first reading during the PB’s regular session on October 26 and is set for the third and final reading on the next regular session of the Board. (Lianne Llesol)