By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Negros Occidental started its deliberations on the proposed P4.4 billion budget for 2021 yesterday morning.
In a document signed by provincial secretary, Atty. Maki Angel Ascalon, due to the social distancing requirements, they can only accommodate a limited number of people inside the session hall, which will be restricted to department heads, board members and authorized SP staff only.
Ascalon said department heads with scheduled time slots will be allowed only one companion inside the session hall.
As for those who want to monitor the proceedings, Ascalon said they will air the budget deliberations via the SP’s official Facebook page.
As of yesterday, among those who have been summoned to the deliberations were the Governor’s Office, Administrator’s Office, Office of the Provincial Accountant, Provincial Treasurer’s Office, Human Resources Management Office, and the Provincial Engineer’s Office.
For the scheduled hearing today, the SP will summon the Office of the Provincial Assessor, Negros Occidental Tourism Division, Scholarship Program Division, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Provincial Veterinary Office, and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson submitted the proposed budget to the SP last month.
The proposed general fund budget is P4,471,695,065, and allocated for personal services is P1,641,424,244; maintenance and other operating expenses, P1,374,658,871; capital outlay, P12,000,000; and special purpose appropriations, P1,443,611,950.
The P4.4 billion will come from tax revenues totaling P98,000,000; non-tax revenues of P380,357,719; and Internal Revenue Allotment of P3,993,337,346.
Lacson said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an economic loss of P9.57 billion to Negros Occidental.
Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer assured the timely approval of the proposed P4.4-billion budget for 2021, pointing out he does not see a delay since funds are needed for the province’s fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
First district board member Rommel Debulgado is leading the budget hearings as chairman of the committee on budget and finance./DGB, WDJ