The Negros Occidental Sangguniang Panlalawigan yesterday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to include the 2017 proposed budget for the Negros Island Region (Region 18) in the national executive budget, before its submission to Congress for approval.
The SP made the appeal in a resolution its members approved at their regular session at the Capitol in Bacolod City.
Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said he was informed by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. that the NIR budget was not included by the Department of Budget and Management in the proposed 2017 national budget.
“By not including our budget, it's like saying they don't recognize Region 18, it’s very important that we have our own budget…It’s really a concern,” Lacson said.
Negros Occidental used to be part of Western Visayas and Negros Oriental of Central Visayas, until President Benigno Aquino issued Executive Order No. 183 on May 29, 2015, making them part of the NIR. The regional offices in the NIR for 2016 have been operating on budgets taken from Western and Central Visayas, but it was expected that in 2017, NIR would get its own share of the budget.
Lacson said he is also calling on the congressmen and partylist representatives from Negros Occidental and Oriental to wage a strong lobby for the inclusion of the NIR 2017 budget in the General Appropriations Act.
“We must do whatever it takes to lobby for the 2017 NIR budget,” he added.
Lacson said he has informed Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) about the matter. Benitez yesterday said he is meeting with Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno next week to inquire about the matter.
Senators Franklin Drilon and Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday also said they would help the NIR get its budget.
Asked if the non-inclusion of the budget is politically motivated since the bulk of the Negros Occidental and Oriental officials were not for Duterte in the May polls, Lacson said “I do not want to put any malice as it could just be an oversight.”
The summary of proposed budgets of 27 national lines agencies and four state universities and colleges in the NIR for 2017 is P42 billion, Marlin Sanogal, Neg. Occ. Provincial Planning and Development officer, and a member of the NIR technical working group, said.
It has been reported that the total proposed budget, including those that were directly submitted to the DBM, could reach about P100 billion.*CPG
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