Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is seeking a P5.5 billion budget for the year 2024, which is up for approval from the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP).

Lacson said the proposed budget for next year will be higher by about P400 million compared to this year's provincial budget, which is P5.1 billion.

Lacson said that it already includes local sources, which increased by P10 million from P329 million to P339 million.

He added that the National Tax Allotment (NTA) of the province for 2024 is P280 million.

Local income means local taxes and non-tax revenue, he said.

The economic enterprise increased by P300,000, or from P257 million to P258.2 million, Lacson said.

The governor said the proposed budget will be submitted to the SP before the deadline on October 16.

Lacson said the implementation of the Mandanas ruling of the Supreme Court this year had minimal effect on the budget of Negros Occidental, which increased by six percent compared to this year.

Under the Supreme Court's Mandanas ruling in 2018, the just share of LGUs is determined based on all national taxes and not just on national internal revenue taxes.

Lacson said that the province is "not yet back to the level in 2019" in terms of local income, though he attributed the increase in the proposed budget to an increase in tax collection.

"It will normalize in 2025," he also said.

He said that it seems that the Bureau of Customs is effective in tax collection.

"Most of the existing businesses have recovered," Lacson added.

He expects the budget of LGUs in Negros Occidental to also increase.

The increase in the NTA is "a big help for the funds of LGUs, especially the smaller municipalities," Lacson said.

He said the bulk of the proposed budget will go to infrastructure like farm-to-market roads and school buildings.*