Marathon hear­ings set for Ne­gocc’s P4-B 2019 bud­get

Sun Star Bacolod - - Top Stories - BY ER­WIN P. NICAVERA

THE Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­lalaw­igan (SP) of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal has set a series of hear­ings on the pro­posed P4.002 bil­lion an­nual bud­get for 2019.

The Au­gust body ap­proved the pro­posed ap­pro­pri­a­tion on first read­ing dur­ing the reg­u­lar ses­sion yes­ter­day.

Sec­ond Dis­trict Board Mem­ber Sal­vador Es­calante Jr., chair­man of the SP com­mit­tee on ap­pro­pri­a­tion, bud­get and fi­nance, said the bud­get hear­ing is sched­uled on Oc­to­ber 22 to 26.

Es­calante said this will give chance to the dif­fer­ent de­part­ments of the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to de­fend their re­spec­tive pro­posed bud­get as there might be “con­cerns” on the un­der­uti­liza­tion of funds.

“We will have to find out if there are prob­lems on the uti­liza­tion of the bud­get,” he said, adding that in­stead of slash­ing the al­lo­ca­tion, they will warn the de­part­ment to im­prove its per­for­mance to avoid short­fall by max­i­miz­ing the re­sources for in­tended pro­grams and projects.

Cur­rently, the province’s bud­get uti­liza­tion is pegged at 70 per­cent.

Es­calante said this is “low” as the uti­liza­tion by this time is sup­posed to reach at least 80 per­cent al­ready.

“So we will see what we can do. Part of our job is to leg­is­late laws that can speed up the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the projects,” he added.

The to­tal pro­posed bud­get for 2019 is about 14 per­cent higher than this year’s al­lo­ca­tion which is about P3.5 bil­lion.

Of which, the bulk is ear­marked to Per­son­nel Ser­vices (PS) at P2.073 bil­lion.

The province is al­lo­cat­ing P1.172 bil­lion for Spe­cial Pur­pose Ap­pro­pri­a­tion (SPA), and the re­main­ing bud­get of al­most P756 mil­lion is for Main­te­nance and Other Op­er­at­ing Ex­penses (MOOE).

Af­ter the bud­get hear­ing, Es­calante said his com­mit­tee will have to make a re­port to the SP, which will then ap­prove the pro­posed ap­pro­pri­a­tion or­di­nance for sec­ond and fi­nal read­ing.

Es­calante said they tar­get to have the bud­get ap­proval by the mid­dle of Novem­ber so that projects ear­marked for next year can al­ready be pro­cessed es­pe­cially in terms of doc­u­men­tary re­quire­ments.

“The ear­lier that we can ap­prove, the bet­ter for the province con­sid­er­ing that there will be a ban­ning pe­riod dur­ing the elec­tions next year,” he added.*

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