THE Provincial Board (PB) of Negros Occidental will tackle today, September 30, the proposed annual budget of the Provincial Capitol for 2016 amounting to P2,884,929,000.
Board Member Salvador Escalante, chair of the PB Committee on Finance, said Tuesday that the board received the proposed budget from the Office of Governor Alfedo Maranon Jr. last Thursday.
During the regular session today, Escalante said the budget will be referred to his committee that will schedule budget deliberations where Provincial Capitol department heads will be called to defend their respective proposed budgets.
He added that he expects that the budget hearings will last for a month after which his committee will submit a report to the board for second reading.
"If all goes well, the budget will be passed before the year ends," Escalante said.
Earlier, Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said that despite being political season on the time of approval of the budget, "the people know how we acted promptly on the budget submitted by the Office of the Governor."
The proposed budget is 9.37 percent higher compared to the 2015 budget of P2,637,829,500. The biggest part of the budget or P1,023,739,978 will go to the operations of Provincial Government hospitals.
The budget for hospitals is 25.38 percent higher compared to this year's P816,510,924. The 9.37 percent increase in the 2016 budget is due to higher Internal Revenue Allotment share amounting to P235 million and local income of P4.7 million.
The Province's income from hospital operations is also up by 4.9 percent for a total of P171.4 million. The proposed budget also set aside P1.79 billion for the general fund and P66 million for economic enterprises, which is P880,780 less than this year's allocation.