Provincial Board okays P3.62B AIP
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - November 10, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board has approved the provincial government's P3.62 billion Annual Investment Program (AIP) for 2017.

 During its regular session Monday, the PB passed a resolution adopting the AIP.

The amount is comprised of operational projects and activities of different offices, 20 percent development fund (P583 million), and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management plan (P166 million).

 The AIP will be funded by 20 percent of Cebu's internal revenue allotment (IRA) for next year. The AIP is drawn up by every city, municipal and provincial government to identify priorities for development.

 On the other hand, the approval brought confusion to some of the board members because, as practice, only the development fund and disaster plan are subject for PB's approval and not the entire operational expense of the Capitol.

 Governor Hilario Davide III presented the AIP before the Provincial Development Council (PDC) last October 20 and was approved at council level. But the council's approved AIP amounting to P749 million does not include yet the projected expenditures of Capitol's offices and departments.

 "The 20-percent development fund and PDRR plan only amounts to P749 million. So, we should not be approving the P3.62 billion," said Board Member and Majority Floor Leader Jude Thaddeus  Sybico.

 Provincial Budget Officer Danilo Rodas explained that they are just complying with the regulations of the Department of Budget and Management, which requires the approval of a plan prior to the preparation and approval of the annual budget. 

 He said this is to make sure that DBM won't disapprove Capitol's budget.

 "DBM said that there must be a plan before the budget is approved. The budget should come from the plan. If naay budget dili gikan sa plan ilang i-disapprove ang budget," he said.

 Rodas said though he understands the PB's concerns because it's the first time they included the summary of expenses of the capitol offices in the AIP.

 He said they have asked DBM for clarification over the issue.

 Rodas said he earlier contested DBM's opinion that they are required under the Local Government Code to base the entire Capitol's operational budget from a plan.

 "But as far as the local finance committee of the province is concerned ang amo pagtuon wa gyod magsulit ang local government code nga ang tibuok budget naka-base sa plan," he said.

 He said the issue has been raised to DBM in July this year during the National Convention of budget officers held in Cebu following the agency's advisory on the approval of AIP. However, the agency has yet to issue official guidelines and has not updated the Budget Operations Manual.

 Board Member Miguel Antonio Magpale, chairman of the committee on budget and appropriations, said the pertinent provision of budget operations manual for LGUs requires that the AIP for the 20-percent Development Fund and PDRRM Plan/Budget be collated into one AIP or summary form.

 According to the DBM, the summary form should include the projects/activities and operational plans of different departments/offices to arrive to the total amount of investment programming of the province of Cebu for 2017. (FREEMAN)

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