Press Release
September 8, 2008

Zubiri notes priority to housing, biofuels in P1.415 Trillion 2009 budget

"Expenditures for shelter and clean and renewable energy could stand some beefing up," said Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri while noting the priority given to the housing and biofuels in the P1.415 Trillion proposed budget for 2009.

"Construction and the shelter sectors are known as good generators of other economic activities and a good supplier of steady stream of jobs. Most important, it satisfies a basic need of a Filipino family," Zubiri, chairman of the Senate Committee Urban Planning, housing and Resettlement, said.

Of five components under the "Welfare for Marginalized Sector" two are directly related to shelter needs, the Core Shelter Assistance at P.5 billion and Resettlement Program at P3.5 Billion. The Core Shelter Assistance is proposed to be increased by 316.67% from P.12 Billion this year to P.50 Billion in 2009. The budget for Resettlement remains the same at P3.5 Billion in 2009 as this year's P3.5 billion already represents a 75% increase from P2 Billion in 2007.

Zubiri noted that the proposed budget also includes a 20.75% increase for the Biofuels program from P21.2 Million to P25.6 Million.

The Biofuels program got more than half of proposed budget for the Alternative Fuels program with a total of P49.1 Billion, of which the Natural Gas Vehicle program will get P8.7 Billion, Autogas program P4.4 Billion and the Hydrogen program P10.4 Billion. Except for Biofuels and Hydrogen, the Alternative Fuels Program deals with fossil-based fuels but they would help the Philippines reduce its GreenHouse Gas emissions coming from the transport sector responsible for 80% of CO2 emissions in cities.

Zubiri added that, "the passage of the Renewable Energy Bill gains more urgency as the Executive acknowledged that the lower growth rate and rising inflation were direct results of the high price of crude for fuel and electricity."

The Development Budget Coordinating Council expects Gross Domestic product growth to be at the range of 6.1 to7.1% , an optimistic outlook from this year's expected GDP growth at the range of 5.5 to 6.4% mainly on high oil and food prices. However, the DBCC expects inflation to ease next year at the range of 6 to 8% from this years's range of 9 to 11% .

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