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Cagayan SP to ‘wait’ for PPDO before tackling 2018 AIP, budget

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Cagayan’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) said they will first wait for Provincial Planning and Development Officer (PPDO) Elisa Umoso to clarify some questions on the 2018 budget.

“If she can answer fully the queries of the honorable members [and] if we will be satisfied, wala naman na pong problema,” Vice Governor Melvin “Boy” Vargas Jr said in a media briefing after their 70th Regular Session on Friday, January 5.

This after the board’s Committee on Finance and Appropriation (CFA) chaired by Vargas noticed the 2018 Annual Investment Program (AIP) and Executive Budget were based in an updated Provincial Development Investment Program (PDIP) yet to be approved by the SP. [READ: Cagayan SP finance committee: 2018 AIP, budget not based on approved plan]

The board said they must first approve the updated PDIP before tackling and eventually approving the 2018 AIP and budget.

“Kailangan pong sundin ito eh… There might be an illegal process if we will not approve this updated PDIP,” Vargas said.

With this, the board said only PPDO Umoso, having a “core” role in the budget planning, could answer their queries on the budget.

Umoso was unable to attend both the CFA hearing and regular session but was able to meet with some board members after session, saying that she just arrived from Manila to testify in an ombudsman case.

The CFA will conduct a committee hearing with Umoso on Monday, January 8, hoping to render a report in plenary on Wednesday, January 10.

Budget only

The board only tackled the 2018 budget in the said regular session, their first for 2018, and decided to do so until its approval.

“Here in the session hall, we will not tackle any agenda maliban po sa budget. That’s what we’ll do until the approval of the budget,” Vargas said.

He also added that the SP can hold a session “anytime” to fast track the 2018 plan and budget.

Meanwhile, the approval of the budget may be sped up if department heads will attend sessions when invited, the vice governor said.

“Nasa kanila po ang bola po eh. Kung a-attend sila palagi there is no reason why we will not approve the 2018 budget. Ang sa atin lang naman po rito we just follow the process, the legality,” Vargas said.

With the 2018 budget unapproved, the province is temporarily operating under  re-enacted 2017 budget, which was just approved on December 1.

The 2018 AIP and budget were submitted to the SP on October 19, slightly behind the mandated October 16 deadline. Northernforum.net

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