THE Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Negros Occidental has approved on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, the province’s budget for 2023 amounting to P5.1 billion.

Of the approved budget, P4,952,981,428.00 will be for the General Fund. The remaining amount of P190,379,525.15 will be for the province’s economic enterprise.

First District Board Member Rommel Debulgado, chair of the SP’s committee on finance, reiterated that the provincial share of the National Tax Allotment (NTA) for 2023 decreased by 14.47 percent.

"So, practically [the budget of] all of the local government units will decrease. It's naturally disheartening but considering our resiliency and resolve we shall continue to thrive and make the best of what resources we have," he said.

The total annual budget of the coming year is contemplative of the national government's call for austerity with significant adherence to fiscal reforms to maximize the resources without depriving the constituents of the basic services and facilities due them, Debulgado added.

Negros Occidental has a budget allocation of P5.7 billion for 2022, an increase of P600 million compared to 2021.

For next year, the General Fund is appropriated to Personnel Services amounting to P1,838,914,423; Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) - P1,204,714.05; and Special Purpose Appropriation - P1,909,353.

Debulgado said the MOOE will have a decrease of 35 percent across the board in all departments and offices.

Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer said the passage of the budget comes on time after a series of budget hearings.