Your move guv 2019 budget approval in defensor’s hand

THE fate of the 2019 budget is now in the hands of Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr.

This, as the recent hearing conducted by the committee on appropriations of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan indicated that the executive department could actually produce and submit the itemized list or breakdown of the 20 percent development fund (DF) under the 2019 executive budget.

During the continuation of the hearing on Feb 28, 2019, OIC-Provincial Accountant Orwen Anuevo confirmed that the Annual Investment Plan (AIP), which is the basis for the allocation of the 20% DF, is prepared and finished a year before the executive submits the proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

The Provincial Development Council (PDC), which is composed of mayors and Liga ng mga Barangay presidents in every town, prepares and approves the AIP, which contains the proposed projects to be funded by the 20% DF.

The 20% DF is sourced from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of the province from the national government.

The approval of the over P3.7-billion 2019 budget was stalled after Defensor refused to give the itemized list of 20% DF allocations this year, among other reasons.

The executive proposed to spend more than P500 million for the 20% DF but the committee on appropriations of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan noticed that the proposal was in lump sum form.

The committee had asked the executive to provide the itemized list or breakdown of the proposed projects but to no avail.

Defensor said in earlier interviews that coming up with a breakdown of the proposed budget would be hard and cumbersome.

But Board Member Emmanuel “Manny” Gallar retorted that all Defensor has to do is submit to the SP the 2019 AIP, which the PDC approved in 2018 yet.

Gallar said Defensor now holds the key in the approval of the 2019 budget “because all he has to do is give that list.”

“The list was already with them a year ago. So why stall and insist that it would be cumbersome to itemize everything? The ball is now in the governor’s hand and we are awaiting his move so we can approve the budget as soon as possible,” Gallar said.

Gallar said they asked Anuevo to submit the AIP but the latter said he would first talk to Defensor.

“It’s all up to the governor now. Don’t blame us if the delay is prolonged because we are just awaiting his decision on this. We could have finished the deliberations on the budget if they submitted the list early on,” he added.



Gallar said they will also invite officials of the Commission on Audit (COA) and Department of Budget and Management to shed light on certain audit findings and recommendations regarding the Capitol’s finances.

In previous annual audit reports, COA recommended that the governor must request the Sangguniang Panlalawigan “to break down the component of the lump sum CDAP (Community Direct Action Program) prior to its utilization.”

Funds for CDAP are the local version of the pork barrel allocations in Congress. The allocation is usually based on the requests of SP members for specific projects in their districts.

The audit body also suggested that the governor “direct the Provincial Development Council (PDC), the Local Finance Committee (LFC) and the SP during the preparation phase of the annual budget for the 20% IRA to include only specific and identifiable PAPs (Programs, Activities and Projects)” in order the maximize the use of the funds.

Gallar said they want COA to explain what it meant with the words “specific and identifiable” in the preparation of the 20% DF allocation.

“We want to ascertain that the 20% DF is itemized and broken down per project, not in lump sum form. I believe COA will guide us on this,” he added.