BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The P4,471,695,065 general fund budget of the provincial government of Negros Occidental for 2021 was unanimously approved by members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during their regular session yesterday.
On motion of Board Member Rommel Debulgado, chairperson of the SP Committee on Finance, who presided over the budget deliberations twice a week for three consecutive weeks, the SP approved the proposed 2021 appropriations on second and third reading, without any question from the members.
Of the general fund budget, Debulgado said that P1,641,424,244 has been allocated for Personnel Services, Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses – 1,374,658, 871, Capital Outlay –P12 million, and P1,143,611,950 as Special Purpose Appropriations.
The SP also approved the P128,073,521 budget next year of the provincial Economic Enterprise Development Department, as sponsored by Debulgado.
The early approval of the budget by the SP was assured earlier by Vice-Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, who stressed the importance of funds in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Negros Occidental.
Debulgado said the Personnel Services budget accounts for 36.71 percent of the P4.4 billion budget, that includes the payment of the first tranche of salary increases of Capitol employees, Productivity Enhancement Incentive, overtime, and the granting of step increment due to promotion.
The SP also approved the P798.7 million 20 Percent Development Fund for next year, as approved earlier by the Provincial Development Council.*GPB