The Provincial Board of Negros Occidental approved on third and final reading on Nov. 7 the province’s P4.002-billion annual budget for 2019.
The passage of next year’s budget, which is about 14 percent higher than the 2018 allocation of P3.546 billion, came after a series of hearings held on the third week of October.
Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., chairman of the committee on appropriation, budget and finance, said in an interview that this is the earliest approval of the province’s annual budget in the nine years that he headed the committee. “And I’m proud of that,” he said.
Escalante pointed out that they passed the annual budget earlier this year because of various reasons.
He noted that since 2019 is an election year, there will be a three-month ban covering the elections in May.
This means a 45-day prohibition on “the release, disbursement or expenditure of public funds” particularly for public works ahead of the elections.
Escalante also said this year, Negros Occidental failed to obtain the Department of the Interior of Local Government’s Seal of Good Local Governance due to underutilization or underspending.
As of September 2018, the province’s budget utilization was below 60 percent, or only almost 50 percent, he said.
“We have to catch up by the end of the year. This shows the delayed implementation of projects because of many reasons. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has issued new requirements that’s why the province always need to catch up,” the board member said.
The province’s annual budget for 2019 will be sourced from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of P3.340 billion; tax revenue, P87.35 million; non-tax revenue, P81.538 million; receipts from hospital operations, P308.63 million; and receipts from economic enterprise, P184.399 million.PNA/IMT