Intense deliberations ensued during the Provincial Development Council meeting Thursday to craft a five-year development plan for Negros Oriental.
Of around 30 members who attended the meeting, 24 voted to approve the plan, while four to six others opposed it. It was noted that during the approval of the enhanced Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) and the Provincial Development and Investment Program (PDIP) for 2014-2019, those who registered their objections, pending more clarificatory questions, belong to the opposite political camp.
Rep. George Arnaiz (Neg. Or., 2 nd District) and Board Member Arnie Teves pointed out that they would only want a very good plan to be implemented by whoever wins in next year’s elections.
Arnaiz wanted to change and correct the remarks “projects not needing local funds”, to “projects funded by national funds”, for clearer understanding which, according to him, was not entertained because the PDPFP and the PDIP were already approved.
Provincial Planning and Development officer-in-charge Sofia Arevala and Gov. Roel Degamo explained that the matrix and the template used in the formulation of the plan were supplied by the National Economic and Development Authority and that projects that do not require local funds are labeled as such. The governor said he believes that Arnaiz and Teves understood the label.
One issue discussed was the question of Teves on why the provincial government has insisted before on requesting for a loan package of P350 million for the central block building when the Department of Health has P150 million allotted for the construction of the building.
Degamo explained the total cost of the project is not only P350 million, it can go as high as P400 million, and requested that the remaining P100 million from the DOH be allotted for the purchase of hospital equipment, including the acquisition of an oxygen plant.
Heated arguments ensued between Degamo and Teves when the latter referred to the former as a liar, and that if the province wants a liar to lead the province, that is their choice.
Degamo said the statement comes from a very unprofessional and irresponsible person whose only motive is to oppose the plans and programs of the provincial government for the next five years.
Discussions on the Annual Investment Plan will be held December 3.*JG