Bukidnon eyes P1.852-B public spending in 2013

MALAYBALAY CITY – The Provincial Development Council (PDC) of Bukidnon approved a P1.852 billion annual investment plan for 2013 Wednesday, the basis for the preparation of the province’s annual budget.
The Provincial Budget Office described the proposal as “status quo” pending the Department of Budget and Management’s official calculation of the province’s internal revenue share.
If approved, the P1,851,945,909 investment plan means a budget next year of P1,556 or a daily allocation of P4.32 each for 1.19 million Bukidnon citizens based on the August 2007 census.
The PDC approved it with minor revisions including the reduction of the province’s proposed investment for the greening program from P20 million to P10 million next year, sources from the PDC said.
The P10 million cut was intended to be added to the P40 million provincial counterparts to municipal projects including multi-purpose buildings, rehabilitation of provincial roads, local greening programs, and water supply projects.
The annual investment plan will be submitted for adoption at the provincial board. If it passes, the executive then proposes the more detailed annual budget due for submission to the board in October for the annual budget hearings, said provincial board member Ranulfo Pepito, who chairs the board’s committee on appropriations.
The general fund budget comprises 73 percent of the investment plan including the P460.7 million for general administration and public services such as personal services for different offices at P200.1 million; P249.9 million for economic services such as maintenance of provincial roads pegged at P84.7 million;  P213 million for social services such as P150 million to pay premiums for the province’s indigents health program.
The social services investment plan includes P8 million for the provincial scholarship program, P5 million for integrated social forestry program, and P1 million for provincial child protection program.
The provincial government earmarked P750,000 for its anti-rabies prevention program. The province had the highest number of deaths in Northern Mindanao due to dog bites at 11 in 2011. It also intended to release P300,000 for the compliance of RA 8504 or the HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Act and another P300,000 for “indigenous people support program.”
The province’s compliance to RA 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009 also is expected to receive P500,000 support.
As part of its 20 percent development fund of P249.8 million, the provincial government included P30 million as its counterpart to barangays’ construction of covered courts. About P50 million is also intended for “livelihood projects.”
As part of the development fund is an item identified as “medical equipments” estimated at P30 million.
The mandatory development fund also includes P5 million for the organic agriculture program to comply with Republic Act 100068 and P1 million for “cultural heritage preservation and promotion program.”
Notably, the provincial government also proposed a P5 million for “tourism development program and support services,” which is also used for the annual Kaamulan.
Bukidnon’s mandatory local disaster risk reduction and management fund for 2013 is estimated at P66.2 million.   Other items in the general fund component includes P61 million for loan amortization, which was not identified in details; and P12 million for “peace and order program and support services.”
The provincial government also intends to spend P34.1 million to build, complete, and repair school buildings next year. The amount is part of its P48.9 million special education fund, its support to public education.
The provincial government also intends to spend P501.4 million for its economic enterprises, with more than half of it or P293.5 million intended to run its eight hospitals. The economic enterprise investment plan also includes P80 million for drugs, medicines and other related expenses.
Anecito Romano, a PDC member representing one of the non-government organizations in the council, welcomed the provincial government’s articulation of its administration for next year. But he told this reporter that one thing he asked during the deliberation was the budget for the volunteers from barangays including barangay health workers among others. He said the governor told the PDC there is no budget available for them yet.
Bukidnon News sources said the approval of Gov. Alex Calingsan’s proposed budget for next year would face more pressure from Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr, presiding officer of provincial board.
Zubiri, who for the last four elections have run with Calingasan, told reporters earlier that he welcomes Calingasan’s candidacy in 2013, “but as an opponent”.  (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)