BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday submitted a P5,719,337,346 proposed 2022 budget for the provincial government of Negros Occidental to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for review, deliberations and approval.
The proposed budget for next year shows an increase of about P1.3 billion compared to 2021 budget, which was P4.4 billion.
Lacson also proposed a budget of P183,846,174.37 for the provincial government Economic Enterprise Development Department.
In his letter to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental, through Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer dated October 13, Lacson said that the annual expenditure program is designed to better address the climactic issues and concerns of the province.
While there is a dramatic increase in the National Tax Allotment, formerly known as the Internal Revenue Allotment, caused by the Supreme Court ruling on Mandanas-Garcia, Lacson said it is still an uphill climb considering that this does not come without added responsibilities.
With the implementation of Mandanas-Garcia ruling, where local government units are entitled to a “just share” from all national taxes collected and not only from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Lacson expects an increase of P1.4 billion NTA for Negros Occidental
As a result of the additional sum in our NTA, he said that the provincial government is required to provide programs, projects and activities to be devolved from the national government.
Lacson added that there is a continuing battle with the global pandemic that resulted to disruptions in day-to-day operations of the provincial government that led to reduction of business endeavors and imperiled the health the Negrenses health and well-being.
While this health crisis somewhat shifted our priorities and spending policies, he also said “our foremost goal is to back on track at soonest time as possible”.
Despite these considerations, Lacson said “we will make certain that we will not lose focus on our rudimentary priorities in the province”, stressing also “we are a resilient people, able to come up with ingenious ways to cope and survive, with our Abanse Negrense slogan”.
Of the proposed P5.7 billion budget, the P1,752,715,730 has been earmarked for Personal Services; Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) –P1,812,481,024; Capital Outlay – P12,000,000 and Special Purpose Appropriations (SPA) – P2,142,140,592.*