Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson sees a faster approval of the Provincial Capitol’s 2014 Annual Budget as he sees that "nothing is questionable" in the proposed budget amounting to P2.29 billion.
Lacson, who presides over the SP, said he expects the approval of the budget next Wednesday, Dec. 11, during their regular session.
Lacson yesterday furnished the media a copy of the report of the SP Committee on Budget and Finance.
According to the report, the P2.2-billion budget covers P2,125,170,888 for the General Fund and P874,889,712 for the Economic Enterprise Development Department (EEDD).
In addition to the P 22-million housing assistance for victims of super typhoon Yolanda in Negros Occidental, the Provincial Capitol will allocate P13.7 million more to fully cover the number of 11,871 destroyed houses.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) yesterday approved the resolution of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) seeking an additional P13.7 million for the shelter assistance for the victims of the super typhoon.
The PDRRMC, on their level, approved the re-alignment or re-programming of its Fund Investment Plan for 2013 and Special Trust Fund of the provincial government, for the said additional assistance.
Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer (4th District) yesterday justified his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations worth P34 million, saying the amount was all accounted for and went to the intended beneficiaries.
A report of the Office of the Provincial Accountant said the Provincial Capitol had disbursed all of the P34 million of Ferrer’s PDAF to the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) - Negros Occidental chapter.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) says it is still "premature" at this time to conclude whether there are irregularities in the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers in their projects in Negros Occidental from 2010 to 2013.
"As of this time, it’s premature to tell whether or not there are irregularities in the pork barrel-funded projects in Negros Occidental," DBM-Western Visayas regional director Alfonso Bedonia Jr. said in an interview yesterday.
Bedonia had written Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. requesting his office to submit a status report on the P184-million projects in Negros Occidental funded by the PDAF of some lawmakers.
No prisoners from Leytre nor pirates that landed in northern Negros Occidental.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday dismissed rumors on a "pirate attack" in northern Negros Occidental over the weekend, and advised Negrenses to check the reports with the police first instead of panicking.
"There are no pirates," he stressed, when asked of the veracity of the rumors. "My advice to the people is to verify the reports first with the police," he added.
About 200 residents of Punta Roma in Brgy. Old Sagay in Sagay City fled their homes Friday night following reports that "pirates" have "invaded" their village and were killing people.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has committed an assistance of P16.53 million to Negros Occidental, for the province’s rehabilitation efforts for areas damaged and farmers affected by super typhoon Yolanda.
Provincial veterinarian Renante Decena disclosed this development Friday, adding that the DA’s assistance is part of the intervention of the national government for the rehabilitation of typhoon-affected areas and industries.
Decena said that of the amount, P8.43 million will be for animal dispersal, P5.6 million for pasture rehabilitation and P2.5 million for the repair of animal breeding centers.
Some funds from the P184-million Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) purportedly released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the provincial government of Negros Occidental from January 2010 to October 2013 have not been received by the Provincial Capitol.
Provincial accountant Merly Fortu revealed this development in an interview yesterday, adding that they have yet to verify with the DBM some allocations that were stated in the department’s Statement of Fund Releases, but were not in the list of the Provincial Capitol.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. will submit to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) today the Provincial Capitol’s status report on the P184-million projects in Negros Occidental funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of several lawmakers from 2010 to 2013.
This development was disclosed by provincial administrator Enrique Pinongan Friday, saying the status report submitted by provincial accountant Merly Fortu Friday afternoon needed final corrections, before it can be signed by the governor.
"There are portions of the report that need to be counter-checked," Pinongan said. He added that he expects the counter-checking to be finished last Saturday.
DBM-Western Visayas regional director Alfonso Bedonia Jr. said in his letter to Marañon that "We will appreciate to receive the report not later than Nov. 30, 2013."
Barangay Captain Richard Pios of Barangay Paitan, Escalante City with Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr.*
Rep. Alfredo Abelardo "Albee" Benitez (3rd District), an ally of President Aquino, has questioned the action of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in asking local government units (LGUs) for status reports of projects funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen from 2010 to 2013.
"(It is) strange why DBM will ask it from the LGU. They should know what the status is since the executive branch implements it, unless it’s those PDAF projects that are being implemented by the LGU," the congressman said in a text message yesterday.
But Benitez, chairman of the Liberal Party in Negros Occidental, agrees that the status report "should also be presented to the public for transparency."
Benitez has allocated P33.4 million worth of projects to Negros Occidental using his PDAF from 2010 to 2013, according to the DBM Statement of Fund Releases.
The 2014 Annual Budget of the Negros Occidental provincial government amounting to P2.2 billion is expected to be approved on December 11 or 18, Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr. said yesterday.
Escalante, chair of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Committee on Finance, Budget and Appropriation, said he expects the Sanggunian to pass the budget in December, as the budget hearings had been finished yesterday and he will submit the proposed committee report next Wednesday.
Escalante said the Provincial Development Council executive committee will meet on Monday to tackle the proposed committee report, and if there will be no deferment of big-budgeted items, the report will be up for second reading by Wednesday during their regular session.