Capitol workers push for passage of P3.7-B 2019 budget

The Association of Iloilo Provincial Government Employees is pushing for the passage of the province’s P3.7-billion proposed budget next year.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Joecel Mayor, president of the employees’ association, said they are already drafting their appeal urging members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to approve the budget before the end of the year. They are targeting to submit their document within this week.

The proposed 2019 budget of the provincial government is facing uncertainty following the recent revamp in committee chairmanships at the provincial board. Board Member Dorothy Paes now sits as the new chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations.

According to Mayor, thousands of job orders and contract of service workers will be retrenched if the province will use a reenacted budget. Also, the fourth tranche of the salary increase of regular employees could be jeopardized.

In the 12 district hospitals of the province alone, there are 1,660 job order and contract of service workers.

“We have been discussing about this and the collective sentiments of the employees on the consequences if the budget will not be approved,” he said.

The proposed budget was still not presented during the December 4 regular session of the SP, which Paes was also unable to attend.

The provincial board has only one session left for this year scheduled on December 11, which is also the schedule of the last State of the Province Address (SOPA) of Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. before he steps down from office after the mid-term elections next year.

In a follow-up interview, Vice Governor Christine Garin said that they have already discussed the pros and cons of not having the budget passed within this year after their session yesterday.

“We discussed the future of the province and we have to think it properly,” she said.

Garin also welcomed the plan of the employees’ association to appeal before them so that they could hear their sentiments.

“I know how concerned they are as well as I am very concerned of them, it is good that we also know their sentiments because their families are also at stake,” she said.

The vice governor could not give an assurance that the proposed budget would be passed, but she vowed to work on it.

“If we can hold sessions every day, we will,” she said.PNA