The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has deferred its planned purchase of 14 vehicles worth P24 million for the vice governor and 13 Provincial Board (PB) members as it moves to tighten its belt and postpone non-essential spending in preparation for expenses that may be incurred in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID) 19 pandemic.
The legislative body passed on Tuesday a resolution sponsored by PB Member Aldner Damalerio deferring the acquisition of the vehicles.
According to Damalerio, the SP is willing to reallocate the multi-million peso budget to cover COVID-19-related expenses instead of the vehicle purchase.
Efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and respond to issues related to the health crisis are now on top of the SP’s priority list, he added.
“We found it prudent na defer muna ang pag purchase 14 vehicles…Kung makita sa atong SP ang need to augment resources for the provincial government to combat COVID-19 then we are very willing, pwede ma realign ning budget nato amounting to 24 million,” said Damalerio.
Ex-officio PB Member Jescelo Adiong, concurrently the president of the Philippine Councilors’ League (PCL) Bohol Chapter, said that the province should have an adequate war chest in battling the pandemic.
“Kinahilanglan g’yud na tay igo daan na kwarta just in case we fall short sa atong gi-budget karon para sa COVID-19, para naa tay makuot,” he said.
The province of Bohol has prepared an almost P700-million stimulus package, dubbed the “We Survive as One” fund, to locally address the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the quarantine measures imposed by the government to contain the virus’ spread.
Governor Arthur Yap had earlier announced that P150 million of the budget will be used to provide P-500 food vouchers for 300,000 households.
Yap said that P200 million will be allocated for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises or MSMEs, P110 million for barangay-level projects and P150 million for agriculture and fisheries projects.
According to Yap, the Capitol has also earmarked P50 million to assist Boholanos who are stranded and identified as displaced workers in other parts of the country. (R. Tutas)