Guv open to amendments in proposed 2019 budget

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ILOILO – Just so the proposed 2019 P3.7-billion provincial government budget is approved, Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. said he is open to budget amendments that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) may introduce.

The SP’s approval of the budget is important, said Defensor, so as not to delay the fourth tranche of the salary standardization of over 2,000 regular capitol employees and the assistance for indigent residents.

The proposed budget is stuck at the SP appropriations committee chaired by Liga ng mga Barangay provincial federation president Dorothy Paes.

The barangay captain from Dumangas, Iloilo said in November last year she needed to study the budget proposal. Among others, she noted that the 20-percent Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the province reaching over P500 million was not itemized.

Under the Local Government Code, the SP has 90 days starting Jan. 1 to approve the 2019 budget that it failed to approve before 2018 ended.

“But the Provincial Board can still save the day. It’s not too late for them to act on the 2019 budget fast,” said Defensor.

He also said the province’s IRA is for barangay projects such as water systems, schools and day care centers, among others.

The proposed provincial government of P3,712,252,733 has two parts: General Fund of P2,747,455,733 and Local Economic Enterprise fund of P964,797,000,

The General Fund breakdown is as follows:

* personal services – P898,367,155

* maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) – P953,869,954

* capital outlay – P22,670,000

* special purpose lump sum appropriations – P872,548,624

The Local Economic Enterprise fund breakdown is:

* personal services – P392,137,818

* MOOE – P572,659,182

The 2019 proposed budget is P245,131,059 higher than the 2018 budget of P3,467,121,674.

On Monday, provincial capitol employees wore black shirts to lament the SP’s dawdling on the proposed budget.

According to Atty. Teofisto Melliza, attorney III at the Provincial Legal Office, the employees were looking forward to receiving their salary increase.

“Sini lang gin-implement naman ang excise tax. Sobra ina P2 nga saka sa gasoline. Ti, ang epekto sina sa mga balaklon, sa plete kag sa tanan tama ka daku,” said Melliza.

Speaking to provincial government employees after the flag-raising ceremony on Monday, Defensor took potshots at unnamed SP members he said were getting instructions from their principal not to approve the budget.

Appropriations committee chairperson Paes is a political ally of Cong. Ferjenel Biron who is running for governor against Defensor’s son, Cong. Arthur Defensor Jr./PN

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