By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY – With about three weeks before the end of the year, Iloilo Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. Urged the Iloilo Provincial Board to pass the proposed P3.7-billion budget for fiscal year 2019.
“I urge the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to immediately pass our 2019 Annual Budget so as not to delay and hamper many of our pro-people and pro-development plans and programs,” said.
Defensor in his last State of the Province Address (SOPA) Tuesday.
His call came after the Iloilo SP revamped chairmanship of committees including the influential Committee on Appropriations.
Defensor blamed politics for the SP reshuffle with a majority of the members pledging alliance with 4th District Rep. Ferj Biron, who is running for governor in May 2019 elections against the governor’s son and namesake, incumbent Iloilo 3rd District Rep. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr.
If the SP fails to pass the proposed P3.7-billion budget, the Iloilo provincial government will be forced to run under a re-enacted budget or the budget for the current fiscal year.
Defensor expressed fear that a re-enacted budget will have a negative effect on health services, including the operations of the 12 district hospitals across the province.
He explained that, since physicians and nurses are not permanent hires, there will be no allocation for their salaries under a re-enacted budget.
“Let us set politics aside and think not of our individual welfares or the welfare of our political patrons but consider first and foremost the welfare of our people,” Defensor appealed to SP members.