SP okays P1.9-B budget of PGIN on 1st reading

*PHO to get a lion’s share from the budget in the amount of P78 million for anti-COVID response

PROV’L CAPITOL, Laoag City–The Sangguniang Panglalawigan chaired by Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta-Marcos has approved on first reading the proposed P1.9 billion annual budget 2021 of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte during its recent regular session held here.

The proposed budget got the legislators’ initial nod after three-day budget hearings attended by Vice Governor Araneta-Marcos, SP members, and the local finance committee composed of department heads from the treasury, planning & development, budget, and accounting.

SP member-lawyer Donald Nicolas, chairman of the committee on appropriations, said the proposed annual budgets of all departments were strictly scrutinized and studied to know where and how their office funds would be disbursed and spent for next year.

Independent observers and the local media earlier predicted that the government health sector will get a lion’s share from the billion-peso budget to help cushion the impact of the contagion on the people’s health.

It came true as SPm Nicolas confirmed that the Provincial Health Office will get the priority share to the tune of P78 million to be utilized in its anti-COVID response, among other vital health care projects.

He added that the PHO budget was among the last to have been deliberated followed by the budgets of district hospitals, provincial DSWD, provincial DRRM, emergency response office, vice governor’s office, and SP’s office.

Most of the other office departments have a reduced annual budget next year compared to that of previous years because they have lesser programs and activities set in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SPm Nicolas explained.

Concerned citizens expressed optimism that after the SP body would iron out all kinks, the P1.9 billion annual budget would get final approval before this year ends. (JUN R. GUIANG/Tri-media report)