By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz said the proposed P5.5-billion budget of the province for 2024 was allocated for the priority projects of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.
Diaz said these include various infrastructure projects, food security, training of farmers and farm mechanization, disaster response and preparedness training.
He added that included in the priority list is the purchase of additional heavy equipment and computerization and digitalization efforts.
Diaz pointed out that the provincial government needs to repair and retrofit some infrastructure damaged by recent calamities
He said Lacson’s administration is also keen to pursue digitalization, which will primarily focus on the different hospitals and the Provincial Health Office, to ensure the smooth flow of information from the Capitol to the different supply officers and city health officers, and their respective pharmacists.
The provincial government will come up with the equipment, connection, and network to comply with the Universal Healthcare Act, which will be operational by next year.
“Nucleus farms” for different livestock will also be established by the provincial government, along with putting up Capitol-managed feed mills to support livestock farmers Diaz added.
Earlier Lacson said that the provincial government has proposed a budget of P5.5 billion for 2024.
The 2024 proposed budget is higher by P400 million compared to the 2023 budget of P5.1 billion.
The governor said that also that the National Tax Allocation (NTA) of Negros Occidental was increased by the national government from P4.6 billion to P4.9 billion this year.
Income from local sources, such as local taxes and nontax revenues, also registered an increase of P10 million, from P329 million to P339 million.
Lacson attributed the increase in the proposed 2024 budget to the increase in tax collection.
“It will normalize in 2025,” Lacson said.
The governor also said that the 2024 proposed budget will be submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental for its approval before the October 16 deadline.