Editorial: Priority-driven process

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Funds have been allocated, for example, for assistance to the city’s senior citizens and for college scholarships for the city’s graduating students.

While the giving of financial assistance to certain sectors is acceptable in certain situations, like when a local government unit has surplus funds, this should still be part of a priority-driven budgeting process. This should not be done for the mere sake of giving.

In a way, councilors that did not vote in favor of the ordinance giving financial assistance to solo parents were correct.


Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos’s argument that solo parents should instead be given training or livelihood grants and Councilor Noel Wenceslao’s worry that the city may not be able to fund the assistance in the future follow the logic that government resources must be allocated to programs or services that are “of greatest value to the community.”

Why solo parents are being singled out for assistance is a question that has not been adequately by the ordinance’s proponent. Carillo is the same councilor who proposed the giving of P1 million to any city resident who reaches 100 years old. The mindset seems to be the giving for giving’s sake.

Which brings us to the point of where this spending spree would bring the city.

Surely, there are other sectors that are economically hard-up, are voters of the city and can therefore be recipients of City Hall dole-outs. People who sleep in the city’s sidewalks even need financial help more than solo parents.

But while this style of budgeting may fit the purpose of politicians wooing votes during elections, this won’t serve the ideal that scarce government resources should be spent on programs and services that would pump prime economic growth or would be of more value to the community in general.

Then again, has the Cebu City Government identified its strategic priorities for budgeting purposes in the first place?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 09, 2014.


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