Breaking News, Indepht Analysis
Lingayen — The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) is set to approve in its regular session on November 25 the province’s annual budget for calendar year 2014 amounting to P2.43 billion.
This developed after the SP Committee on Appropriations chaired by Board Member Clemente Arboleda, Jr. convened in the annual budget hearing held November 18 at the session hall.
In a report submitted to the committee, Provincial Planning and Development Officer Benita Pizarro said that the proposed 2014 provincial budget has appropriated an increase of 15.61 percent or an equivalent of P332.4 million increase from the current year’s P2.13 billion.
The 2014 IRA of the province jumped to P2.1 billion from the P1.8 billion of the current year.
The increase of budget is attributed to the increase of the province’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share from the national treasury amounting to P332.4 million and the increase of tax and non-tax revenue.
The proposed 2014 budget, according to the PPDO Chief, will support the full implementation of the present administration’s priority program and projects that are included in the proposed 2014 Annual Investment Plan (AIP).
Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. disclosed during an interview after the budget hearing that the provincial government has given priority to the health sector, granting the Provincial Health Office (PHO) proposed budget amounting to P23 million while the 14 province-owned and managed hospitals got P544.3 million operational budget.
The Gov. Espino said, however, that the agriculture and tourism sectors are also prioritized with the increased budget allocation for the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPAg) and Provincial Tourism Operations Division (PTOD).
For 2014, the OPAg has a P62.8M budget from this year’s P62.7M while the tourism office, having a P4.3M budget this year got an increase of 500 thousand for next year.
Gov. Espino takes the lead in bolstering agricultural production as way of helping the marginalized farmers and fisherfolks; and constantly spurs up tourism investments and promotions for tourism development.
The present administration has set its sights on enriching the lives of every Pangasinense through the implementation of development programs in health, agriculture and tourism which are all geared in transforming Pangasinan as the best place to work, live, invest, and raise a family.
Board Member Alfonso Bince said the hospitals have been getting “a lion’s share from the annual budget.” He cited an increase of P40M to the current budget of P503M for next year.
PHO chief Ana de Guzman informed the committee that the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital (PPH) now caters about 600 in-patients — that is way beyond the 150-bed capacity of the hospital.
The influx of patients, she said, is attributed to the modern medical facilities and laboratory equipment being used in the hospitals and the quality medical services rendered by the nurses, doctors and medical staff. (PIO/Merlita Tibalao/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca)