Bukidnon saves P1.55B in 2 years – Zubiri  

Local officials in their traditional attire attend the opening rites of the 103rd Foundation Anniversary program of Bukidnon on September 1, 2017 at the Folk Arts Theater BukidnonNews.Net photo

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/01 September 2017) The Provincial Government of Bukidnon obtained budget surpluses amounting to P1.55 billion in 2015 and 2016, Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr said on September 1 during his speech at the 103rd Foundation anniversary of the province.

He said the province obtained budget surplus of P747 million in 2015 and P805 million in 2016. He cited that they are expecting at least another surplus of at least P800 million in 2017.

He did not explain how the provincial government managed to have a budget surplus.

Hansel Echavez, head of the Capitol’s Public Affairs and Information and Assistance office, told BukidnonNews.Net among the causes of the surplus cited in meetings was the influx of local revenue like those from the sand and gravel industry.

Bukidnon’s budget surplus is bigger than that of the Provincial Government of Cebu, reported by Philippine Star at P608.4 million for 2016 and P433.1 million for 2015.

Zubiri announced that he will release a total of P800 million this year for various purposes, mainly to address poverty in the province. He said the funds were made available due to the budget surplus.

He said he will release a total of P300 million for the provincial government’s “livelihood program for the poor”. He also announced the release of P220 million for repair and rehabilitation of thousands of kilometers of barangay roads. He said this will help facilitate movement of people and products from farms to markets. He said he will also release P280 million for housing for the poor, especially those living in areas prone to flooding.

He cited that the province has incurred no loans.

According to the Local Government Code of 1991, in the context of government budgeting, a budget is said to be balanced when revenues match expenditures or disbursements. When revenues do not equal to the level of expenditures, then government will either have a surplus or incur a deficit. Surplus occurs if the projected revenue is more than the projected expenditure.

A paper on the round table discussion held in December 2016 by the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines on budget surplus among LGUs reviewed its possible “under-spending” tendencies.

Experts in the RTD cited that “underspending” at the local level could be traced to national government spending and local revenues. Other issues identified on budget surplus among LGUs include non-alignment of priorities between national and local governments, unclear assignment of functions on fiscal transfers and support and LGUs’ autonomy on fund use.

Zubiri also cited the achievement of the province as the most competitive province in Region 10 and placing ninth nationwide for the 2017 Competitive Municipalities and Cities Index (CMCI) of the National Competitiveness Council (see related story).  

Engr. Leon M. Dacanay, regional director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-10), in his keynote speech underscored the role played by Bukidnon in the economy of Mindanao.

He cited that taking care of the environment will help ensure the future of Bukidnon, especially that its sustainable environment and natural resources support the province’s agriculture-based productivity, provide water for the rest of Mindanao and even help generate renewable energy.

The foundation anniversary celebration focused on the theme “Caring for Bukidnon, care for the next generation”. The province held no civic parade this year so commemoration activities centred on the program. Zubiri explained that the event was held in the Folk Arts Theater in respect to the Muslim residents of the province who are also observing Eid’l Adha coincidentally with the province’s foundation day anniversary.   (Walter I. Balane/BukidnonNews.Net).