Board member Franklin Bona, chair of the board's committee on finance, said the approved budget centers on the province's development and effective delivery of basic services.
"The 2007 budget is bigger compared with 2006 budget but it may still be increased later on as the need arises and as long as our coffers would allow," he said in a media forum in Koronadal City.
Last year, he said, the provincial board passed at least three supplemental budgets, increasing the allocation for the entire year to at least P553 million from the initial P474.124 million appropriation.
In the approved budget, General Public Services will receive the biggest allocation with P166.743 million or 31.34 percent while Social and Health Services will get P165.981 million or 31.20 percent.
Economic Services will receive an allocation of P145.128 million or 27.28 percent and Non-Office Services at P54,148 or 10.19 percent.
Bona said the budget for General Public Services covers the salary of employees and the promotion of public safety, judiciary services, prosecution services, registry of deeds, local government supervision, administrative overhead and other regulatory functions of the provincial government.
The Social and Health Services allocation will be utilized for the operation of hospitals, health programs and other social services, he said.
Bona said the Economic Services covers agricultural projects such as the maintenance of the Scion Grove and Demonstration Farm in Banga town, Dairy Farm in Tantangan, farm subsidy to farmers and other related programs.
He said the budget for the Non-Office and other purposes is intended for Barangay assistance and other related purposes.
Bona said the approval of the budget, which was proposed by the province's executive department, manifests the SP's priority to enact legislations "for the good of the people."
Bona said residents should expect more development projects in the province this year due to the foreseen increase in its Internal Revenue Allotment.
He did not cite the exact figures but pointed out that next year's budget is supported by the projected income of the province.
Bona said the local government has committed to ensure that the province's Lumads (indigenous peoples) will get their due share out of the development and progress in the province.
"We believe that in order for South Cotabato to thrive, they (Lumads) must not be left behind," Bona added.