Press Release
August 14, 2012

Transcript of Ambush Interview with Senator Franklin M. Drilon

On the proposed supplemental budget

We don't know how much it will be, but we're looking at increasing the percentage of the use of income from consular services in order that we can have a program for acquisition of embassies and consular residence.

We are prepared. Handa po kaming tumanggap ng proposal mula sa Pangulo kung kinakailangan ng dagdag na budget para matugunan ang pangangailangan natin sa mga nasirang tulay, dike, at iba pang imprastraktura na nasira noong nagdaang ulan. Maghihintay po kami kung kailangan ng Pangulo ang supplementa budget. We are prepared to consider it.

So far, the DBM said they can manage with their QRF and Calamity Fund. But on the medium and long term, they may have to take a look at a supplemental budget or adjusting the 2013 budget which we are now discussing. Maybe, in order not to duplicate work, a review of the 2013 budget in order that the needs for the construction can be addressed, can be done. We are ready to consider any proposal from the Executive branch. As you are aware, hindi po natin pwedeng dagdagan ang budget dahil may constitutional provision, ngunit kung iyan po ay manggagaling sa Pangulo, pwede po nating gawin kaya maghihintay kami kung ano ang desisyon ng executive branch.

Precisely, we'll await the request dahil hindi natin pwedeng ilagay na lang yung amount.

We are awaiting the decision from the President for us to either pass a supplemental budget or adjust the 2013 budget in order that we can include authorization for rehab of damaged infra and to fast-track the building of flood-mitigation infrastructure. Right now, funds are only sufficient for repair, like for example, the bleached dike in Pampanga, but dikes in Laguna and coastal dam in Marikina is not even in the budget. What we are saying is that we can jump-start this project by looking at adjusting the 2013 budget in order to accommodate funds for this project.

On DFA's budget

I am disappointed at the implementation of this Dual Citizenship Law. As of today, we only have 95,000 former Filipino citizens who have re-acquired Philippine citizenship, and this is a very small percentage of the universe of former Filipino citizens who could have availed of dual citizenship law. I requested DFA to intensify efforts to attract our former compatriots to once more become Filipino citizens. I am talking about a very definite target and very detailed communication plan to address concerns which are actually non-existent. Malaking bagay na sa ngayon ang ating mga kababayan ay mataas ang tingin sa kasalukuyang administrasyon. They are proud that the Aquino administration is doing what they're supposed to be doing.

On the other hand, we are also amenable to increase the budget of the DFA through a higher percentage of the use of the consular services fund. They, at presently, use only 10% of it and we are willing to double it to 20%. But it should be used exclusively in a program to acquire as our own a chanceries and residences abroad because the rental alone amounts of P600 million plus a year. We can certainly use some of these for acquisition of our chanceries and residences, so in the long term, we will have our own chanceries and embassies abroad. Other countries have done this program long time ago. It is out time to do it for our country.

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