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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, April 25, 2013
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No quorum at
Neg. Occ. SP again

BY GILBERT BAYORAN

Still no quorum, but Board Member Salvador Escalante yesterday said the proposed budget of the provincial government of Negros Occidental for 2013 may be approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan after the May 13 elections.

With barely two weeks before the elections, Escalante, chairperson of the SP Committee on Finance and Appropriations, said his colleagues are now busy with the campaign.

The SP regular session, that was presided over by Board Member Mae Javellana, was immediately adjourned yesterday again for lack of quorum. Present, aside from Escalante and Javellana, were only Board Members Rene Gustilo, Miller Serondo and Jose Benito Alonzo.

Board Members Helen Zafra, Nehemias de la Cruz, Patrick Lacson and Melvin Ibanez, as well as Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez Jr. were on “official business,” while Board Member Emilio Yulo III is on forced leave status.

After almost four months, the Finance and Appropriations committee has finally concluded its hearings on the proposed 2013 budget. It took 27 budget hearings since January to complete the committee report, after it was disapproved by the provincial council on first reading in December last year .

Escalante said the scheduled meeting on April 21 to scrutinize the Finance committee report, before its presentation to the SP, in preparation for second reading endorsement, also did not push through.

Maybe, they were busy or not interested at all, he said.

The next SP regular session falls on May 1, a regular holiday. Escalante, however, said he is hopeful that there will be a quorum on May 8, three days before the election.

Yulo, Finance committee vice-chairman, had also raised earlier the possibility that the budget may be approved after the election.*GPB

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