Board Member Lorenz Defensor on Tuesday (March 5, 2019) proposed a motion for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan's committee on appropriations to deliver a report on the PHP3.7 billion executive budget on March 12, 2019. (Photo by Gail Momblan)
ILOILO CITY -- Iloilo 3rd District Board Member Lorenz Defensor has filed a motion for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s (SP) committee on appropriations to deliver a report on March 12.
“Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. submitted the budget in October last year. After almost five months, the budget still has not passed the SP level,” Defensor said in an interview on Tuesday.
He clarified that the motion only asks the plenary to “direct” the committee on appropriations to submit its report.
The appropriations committee failed to render its status report on Iloilo’s PHP3.7-billion executive budget during the SP’s regular session on Tuesday.
Appropriations committee chair Dorothy Paes was unable to render her report as the morning committee hearing was cut short to prepare for the SP session in the afternoon.
She said they also asked for the breakdown of the 20-percent development fund under the 2019 budget.
“We had an understanding before that the budget deliberation is supposed to be done on March 1,” Defensor said, referring to the budget hearing timeline that the appropriations committee failed to follow.
Defensor laid down the effects of the non-approval of the executive budget.
He said that the Local Government Code bars the SP from tackling other matters unless the budget is passed.
Therefore, it affects the projects in the province that need the authorization of the board members.
“We cannot grant the requests of the village chiefs for assistance. Now, we are working in a re-enacted budget. We anticipate the effects of the El Niño and where will we source the fund to assist the Ilonggos when it was not included in the 2018 budget? ” Defensor said.
He also expressed hope that the budget would be passed before the election ban period on March 29.
Meanwhile, Iloilo Vice Governor Christine Garin, said the SP will further discuss Defensor’s motion on their next regular session.
“I’ve been talking to the appropriations committee chairman and our vice chairs because we are aware that they already exceeded the timeline set,” Garin assured, adding that the committee is thinking of ways to expedite the budget approval. (PNA)