NegOcc provincial gov’t to purchase P50-M aircraft

THE plan of the Negros Occidental Provincial Government to purchase an aircraft for various purposes will now be realized.

The Bacolod City Council, during its regular session Thursday, May 11, approved the 2017 General Fund Supplemental Budget No. 2 amounting to about P191 million.

Bulk of the appropriation was earmarked for the purchase of a six-seater Cessna aircraft worth P50 million.

Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., chairman of City Council committee on appropriations, budget, finance ways and means, said the plan to have a provincial government-owned aircraft started during the first term of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.

However, it did not materialize due to lack of available funds, he said.

“The aircraft will be mainly used for sustained cloud seeding operations in the province,” Escalante said, adding that the provincial government has been spending at least P10 million every year for cloud seeding operations “which somehow did not bring significant effect to the agriculture sector.”

The province will also utilize the aircraft for monitoring and management of its coastal and upland resources, faster mobility, tourism developments and in emergency cases.

Its operation will also be maximized in providing quick response to cities and municipalities affected by calamities and disasters, Escalante said.

The province may fully acquire the aircraft in at least a year, or in June 2018, due to tedious procedures, he added.

“It has to go through the approval of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, bidding, and procurement processes,” Escalante said.

Upon issuing the purchase order, the company has yet to manufacture the aircraft, he said, adding that the province will also make some refitting for specific purposes.
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