NEGROS Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Lacson highlighted the gains of the Provincial Board this year in his Legislative Report delivered during the session Wednesday, July 19.

Lacson said the Provincial Board passed 556 resolutions, six ordinances, and four appropriation ordinances in the first half of 2017.

He added that in the second half of 2016, the Provincial Board passed 445 resolutions, three ordinances, and 13 appropriation ordinances, including the annual P2.9 billion budget this year.

Among the important pieces of legislation the August body acted on included the resolutions requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to maintain the existence of Negros Island Region, calling for an inquiry on the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the production of beverages in the province, supporting the Sugar Regulatory Administration Sugar Order No. 3 regulating the entry of HFCS, and the P5 million appropriation for the Capitol’s anti-drug campaign.

The vice governor also noted that the Provincial Board approved the P2- million financial assistance – P1 million each for the war-torn Marawi City and the earthquake-hit Surigao del Norte in Mindanao.

Moreover, Lacson said the Provincial Board passed an ordinance expropriating the two properties in the cities of Talisay and Bacolod worth P485 million.

He said the Commission on Audit (COA) noted that the province has not yet recovered the P60 million downpayment from the landowners after the sale was rescinded due to their failure to secure clearances from the Department of Agrarian Reform, adding that the COA recommended that the province should demand the two vendors to refund the downpayment.

Lacson added that COA also said the province can take legal action to recover the down payment.

The vice governor also said the Provincial Board passed the P191- supplemental budget for various programs of the province, including the P50 million for the purchase of aircraft for cloud seeding and rescue operations.

“I still hope that the governor will reconsider his decision on the purchase of this aircraft, given the opportunity costs of P50 million which can otherwise be used for other needs of our province,” he said.

Lacson also pointed out that Capitol officials were united in their pursuit for the province’s infrastructure development.

“I agree that government should create an environment that would spur economic development, specifically in terms of opening up opportunities for the private sector to invest in and grow, as well as creating more employment and economic progress for the province,” he said.

Lacson also said that the August body had supported the Executive Branch’s programs on education and health.

He said they still have a lot of work to do and challenges to overcome in the next two years.

"More than anything else, it is our people’s interests that continue to govern our decisions and actions," he said.

The vice governor said the Capitol’s vision can be “best achieved by everyone’s active support and participation,” as he enjoined his fellow officials to pursue honest and transparent public service with utmost integrity and professionalism.