INFRASTRUCTURE and medical services are the two top priorities of the Cebu Provincial Government under its proposed P12 billion annual budget for 2020.
The proposed budget of P12,000,028,000 has an increment of 156 percent, meaning it is P7.3 billion higher than the P4.7 billion budget approved in 2019.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, her administration’s proposed budget reflects its expectation that the Capitol’s revenues would increase next year.
“It means we are redirecting our resources to what I believe are of utmost importance—infrastructure and health. It also means that we are now projecting much higher revenues aside from the expected IRA (internal revenue allotment) because of the measures we are now instituting in the finance department,” she said.
From the planned P12 billion budget, Garcia said only 32 percent will be sourced from the IRA, the Capitol’s share of revenues from the National Government.
“The rest will be sourced from internally generated revenues and other funding sources,” she said.
Garcia said her administration’s move to outsource some of its personnel has also helped the Capitol in “judiciously and effectively” spending public funds for the delivery of basic services.
The executive department had endorsed for deliberation the proposed annual budget for 2020 to the Provincial Board (PB).
In a letter to the PB dated Oct. 16, 2019, the governor said the 2020 budget, if passed by the PB, would be divided for general public, social and economic services.
If approved, P6,255,097,777.74—a major chunk of the budget, or 52.13 percent—would go to social services. This would cover medical services and social welfare programs, among others.
Garcia said the Capitol would work on upgrading the provincial hospitals in the cities of Bogo, Carcar and Danao, and the other facility in the town of Balamban from a first level status to second level.
A hospital under a first level status does not have an intensive care unit (ICU); it caters only to patients who need minor care and supervision. On other hand, a second-level hospital has all the elements of a level-one hospital but it has specialists and additional facilities, including an ICU for critically ill patients.
The governor would also want to upgrade district hospitals with bed capacities of 25 or 50. The beds would be increased to 100, especially for district hospitals in the far-flung islands of Bantayan and Camotes.
For social welfare, Garcia said the Capitol would focus on improving its existing programs for children, women and the elderly.
Farmers would be able to avail themselves of an insurance program that would cover their equipment, livestock and crops. The Province would also help farmers grow corn and bananas, among others.
The Capitol’s economic services would focus on infrastructure projects. With P3.98 billion, economic services cover 33.19 percent of next year’s proposed budget.
Garcia said the Province’s infrastructure projects for next year would be in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, build, build” program.
The infrastructure projects covered by the proposed budget include concreting works for 250 kilometers of provincial thoroughfares and 100 kilometers of barangay roads, installing level 3 water systems, and improving existing infrastructure of villages and component towns.
“If our infrastructure budget can still cover it, we would also include the construction of more buildings for hospitals to expand bed capacity and purchase medical equipment and medicine,” Garcia said.
The governor said her administration would do it in line with the Universal Health Care Law, which was passed last February.
The PB members, who are mostly allied with Garcia, will hold a marathon of budget hearings. The appropriation ordinance is expected to be approved before the year ends. (RTF)