Press Release
September 6, 2006

Transcript of Liberal Party President
Sen. Franklin M. Drilon's press conference

Q: On the supplemental budget

SFMD: We will be submitting a committee report on the supplemental budget within this week and put it on the floor for debates on Monday, September 11. We intend to support the proposed supplemental budget requested in the amount of P46.9 for the current year. However, we will be realigning within the departments the items that are allocated in order to be realistic. For example, while we will maintain the DECS budget, including the additional P1 billion, at least, submitted by the House, we will realign it within the DECS budget so that it can be better utilized. For example, the budget proposed by the DECS would carry a proposed P1.47 billion for 10,000 new positions in 2006. Since the budget will be implemented in October, obviously, the P1.47 billion will be in excess but we will not reduce the budget of the DECS. But realign some of these monies in the areas that will be suggested by the DECS.

Hindi po namin babawasan ang budget submitted na mga P46.9 billion ngunit sa loob ng mga budget ng mga ahensya ay aming ire-realign para maging mas maayos ang paggamit. Another example is the P500 million standby fund for Lebanon. Obviously, the whole amount is no longer necessary. What we will recommend to the Senate is we just leave P50 million for the Lebanon evacuees plus P350 million, which is available in the OWWA, so a total of P400 million. P350 million of which will come from the OWWA funds, which they have already appropriated. We intend to provide for the evacuation of the Mayon Volcano victims and also some livelihood programs for the Guimaras oil spill victims. This is what we will do in close consultation with the agencies concerned. We will support the new budget for the DOST. We find that in order. We will reduce the DOTC proposed budget by P2 billion. Because as admitted by Asec. Lastimoso, they don't really need the P2 billion. In view of the fact that the PRC has already made a decision that there will be no reexamination, we don't see the need for a P14 million allocation for the PRC. But again, we will reallocate this to some other item in the budget, which can be of more use.

Q: But you will maintain the P2 billion figure for the calamity fund because you will be funding Mayon and Guimaras?

SFMD: More specific. Right now, we do not know how much really it should be because except for the one of the Coast Guard, where they need about P118 million, the suggestion of Secretary Andaya is to allocate some of these funds to livelihood projects, whether with the DA, DSWD, etc.

Q: You will still give the rest of the P500 million stand by only for Mayon?

SFMD: No. Just on the P500 million, we will recommend that P400 million will be part of the assistance for cleanup and livelihood to the Guimaras victims. The relief operations in Mayon Volcano, P50 million; The repatriation of overseas workers in Lebanon, P50 million. But in addition to the P50 million for Lebanon is P350 million from the OWWA, under their OWWA board resolutions no. 9, 12, and 14 series of 2006. The P400 million will be part of the assistance that we will give to Guimaras. It will be more than this because we will source the other items from the P46.4 billion supplemental budget.

Q: On the GSIS budget

SFMD: We will also approve the allocation of premium payments from the national government of P3.3 billion corresponding to the unpaid principal that the government owes to the GSIS. This will benefit our retirees because with this allocation of P3.3 billion we will now be able to readjust the retirement and other benefits of the employees who retired but whose benefits were reduced as a result of the non-remittance of the contribution of the national government.

Q: Provisions condoning interest

SFMD: We will not approve the provision that will condone interest and other charges because this can affect the actuarial soundness of the fund. We will leave this to the DBM and the GSIS to negotiate as to how much should be condoned given the requirement for the actuarial soundness of the trust fund.

Q: What will happen to the P2 billion for Guimaras?

SFMD: We have not yet decided as to how it will be distributed. But we will try to maintain the P2 billion depending on the actual needs. The NDCC will come up with a proposal as to how much they actually need. The Coast Guard has already mentioned that they will need P118 million. The NDCC will submit to the committee how they propose to allocate the total of P2billion.

If you recall, the DBM submitted two bills. One, a total of P46.4 billion and the other, P500 million. So that the total submission is approximately P46.9 billion. The P2 billion, which the House approved, came from the P46.4 billion. What we are saying is that all doesn't have to come from the P46.4 billion but part of the P2 billion can come from the P500 million allocation for the repatriation of OFWs in Lebanon, which is no longer necessary.

Q: On the Comelec budget

SFMD: The budget of Comelec was reduced by P829.7 million. This reduction is the amount necessary for the modernization of the electoral process. The position of the Comelec is that we can delete this and just provide for the appropriation in the law which will revise the automation law.

Q: The P730 million is for preparation na lang?

SFMD: That's correct. P730 million is for the preparatory activities for the 2007 national and local election.

Q: The working figure for the Senate is P46.9 billion?

SFMD: That's correct. What we will do is to itemize it, almost a line-item budget. So that there will be transparency and each department will know what is going to them. And the public will know exactly what is allocated for each activity.

Q: Iyung sa MRT, ire-realign ninyo?

SFMD: Yes, we will realign that. Part of that will go to Guimaras.

Q: Timetable

SFMD: We don't expect much debate. We hope that we can approve this in due course because many of the provisions here are mere reiterations of the 2006 budget, which we have approved in the Senate but which was not approved in the bicam. That is why we deleted the P2 billion from the DOTC budget because this P2 billion was not in the 2006 proposed budget.

Q: What about the P500 million for the Science Park?

SFMD: We will approve that.

Q: Timetable

SFMD: We will sponsor it on the floor next Monday, September 11. We are hopeful that there should be no protracted debate because many of the items were already debated upon when the 2006 budget was presented to us. And many of these items were already approved then, except for the Guimaras oil spill, which was not there.

Q: Sa DOTC, iyong P1.2 maintenance P275 million for insurance, na-cut na ito?

SFMD: Hindi. The original proposal of DOTC is P3,348,000,000. we will be reducing this by about P2 billion. Ang matitira is about P1,490,000,000 which represents maintenance fees and insurance. (end)

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