Press Release
November 23, 2010



DRILON: It is about time that we have pork barrel for the poor if you want to call it at that, or Internal Revenue allotment for the poor. These are direct assistance and hopefully it can bring them up from the very poor to a little bit better life after the five-year program.

Q: So what you are proposing is parang fixed na siya in the future, parang IRA?

DRILON: Hindi naman. It's a figure of speech. Yan ay parang IRA para sa mga mahihirap dahil ang mga legislators merong prok barrel, ang LGUs merong IRA. Siguro panahon na upang magkaroon ng PDAF o IRA ang mga mahihirap.

Q: Ano ang difference ng Senate at House versions?

DRILON: We have some realignments in the budget, more extensive than that of the Lower House. For example, emphasis on research and development on SUCs. It was an amendment suggested by Sen. Angara. Insofar as the amounts are concerned, it's almost the same and it is in the realignment. In other words, what we view to be the priority may be different from that of the House.

Q: Sir bakit parang kine question mo kanina ang pagtaas ng IRA?

DRILON: No. I'm not saying that I'm questioning it. I'm just stating it as a fact. Because you have no choice insofar as the IRA is concerned. It is a portion of national taxes alloted to the LGUs. So it is automatic. What I'm just saying is that the local governments have been supported through all these years through the IRA.

Q: Do you think they should share also in the savings of the government?

DRILON: I think they have enough powers in the Local Government Code to be able to generate funds, in fact to help the national economy. For example, the least exercise power of the local government is tax mapping. Medyo nag aalangan ang karamihan sa ating LGUs na magpataw ng buwis. But it is necessary because government operations can only be sustained through a higher tax collection. The national government has responded to the needs of the LGUS through the IRA which has increased over the years. It is time for the LGUs to utilize its taxing powers, its powers to generate funds at the local government level so that they will be not totally dependent on the IRA.

What's the rationale behind the deletion of special provision creating oversight committee on CCT?

DRILON: Because after the budget is approved and it becomes law, the realignment is a function of the executive branch. And in my view, you cannot vest upon the oversight committee--which will be composed of members of Congress and the Executive--to realign items in the budget. That is a prerogative of the President insofar as the executive branch is concerned. In the same manner, that the power of the Senate President to realign the budget items in the Senate, cannot be interfered with by an oversight committee. The executive is a co-equal branch. We have all the power of the purse while the budget is being deliberated, but once the GAA is enacted, the power to realign the budget in the executive branch belongs to the President, not to the oversight committee.

Q: There are no cuts?

DRILON: There are cuts under certain items of the budget... but I don't want to comment further baka magkamali ako. It's there.

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