Drilon urges passage of extra budget sourced from unspent ‘pork’

November 20, 2013 4:57 PM

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MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Franklin Drilon has formally sought the passage of a P14.5-billion supplemental budget for 2013 which will be sourced from the unspent Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers this year.

Senate Bill No. 1938 filed by Drilon on Wednesday will authorize the executive to spend the additional appropriation to repair various infrastructures, including P4 billion for school buildings, heavily damaged by recent calamities particularly Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

In filing the bill, the Senate leader stressed the need to immediately pass the supplemental budget “to cover the costs of unforeseen expenses brought about by successive natural and man-made disasters that hit the country during the second semester.”

“The damage caused by recent calamities requires intensified efforts for rehabilitation, repair and construction of severely damaged infrastructure, buildings and facilities in order to accelerate recovery,” Drilon said in a statement.

“Our people urgently need the augmented support of the government for rehabilitation,” he said.

With just five weeks left in the legislative session, Drilon said Congress should expedite the passage of the bill as the current General Appropriations Act will expire by December 31.

The supplemental budget should originate from the House of Representatives but “given the urgency of providing funds to the rehabilitation or reconstruction efforts,” Drilon said, the Senate can already start consultations on the bill while waiting for the availability of the funds.

Under the bill, P2.75 billion and P1.25 billion will go to the Department of Education and state universities and colleges, respectively, for the repair and rehabilitation of school and academic buildings.

The measure also provides for additional P3-billion allocation for the Department of Public Works and Highways to repair roads, bridges and other government infrastructure and another P1.5 billion for the restoration of declared historical sites which were damaged specifically by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Visayas region.

Drilon said the supplemental budget will also cover expenses for the repair of hospitals (P1 billion) and purchase of hospital equipment (500 million) through the Department of Health; P1.5 billion to the National Housing Authority for the purchase of relocation sites and construction of housing units; P1 billion to the Department of Transportation and Communications to repair airports and ports; and another P1 billion to the local government units to repair rural health centers and fund other rehabilitation programs.

Source: newsinfo.inquirer.net

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