Press Release
October 21, 2013

21 OCTOBER 2013

Re: DOF budget

We have endorsed the budget of the Department of Finance for plenary.

Re: Malampaya

Maraming problema tungkol sa Malampaya fund at sa PD. What is important is that there is an admission that we need to amend the PD, moving forward. Mahirap ang accounting diyan, malaki lagi ang problema.

That the cash is there?

Alam mo, like I said before, iba yung accounting entries ng gobyerno. You can always make the cash appear by borrowing money if you wanted to.

Yung actual na pera ng Malampaya, wala sa Treasury?

It's comingled in the general fund. (Pwede ba yon?) Yes, that's what's provided for under the PD. And that's why I'm saying that we need to amend these laws.

Ano yung gusto nyong i-amend?

Pinaaral ko sa sila. I'm informing them, the Secretary of Finance, the economic managers, that there are a number of bills filed in the Senate. I myself had filed, at the very least, three on this issue. On the MRT, as we discussed earlier, I filed three bills on that as well. So we're asking them to study the matter already so we can approve some of these measures, with their amendments. We will listen to them.

Ano sir yung sinasabi nyo na parang nawawala---

Wala akong sinasabing nawawala. Ang sinasabi ko, there is a problem with accounting Malampaya. There are many things in the budget, if you were listening earlier---I don't know if you were there---when we were discussing programmed and unprogrammed. Katulad nyan. Magkano yung budget na alam nyo? 268. O, programmed lang 'yan. Hindi pa kasama yung unprogrammed diyan. Sampung taon ko nang sinasabi 'yan. Alam kong minsan, mahirap intindihin. But if you add the unprogrammed, that is the entire budget that is being requested of us to pass every year.

But if you reported in media based on certain presentations, it is only the programmed. Minus the revenues, ito yung deficit expected. But it is much more than that. The authority to spend is always much higher, if you include unprogrammed funds. At maraming lump sums sa unprogrammed, 'yun din ang pinag-uusapan kanina. O, halimbawa, yung Risk Management Fund, na ang tawag pala nila, ibang pangalan din---Contingent Liability. Hindi ko naman nakikita as contingent liability 'yun---wala pa nga eh, how can there be a contingent liability? Maybe it should be a Support Fund, or something to that effect. That's 30 billion under unprogrammed. Marami pang iba.

'Yung PSALM, may 25 billion doon, may 55 billion nung nakaraan. So on and so forth.

As I said, Mabuti na napag-uusapan natin ito ngayon, it's budget season. The budget is higher than what you expect it to be as presented in the program, because there are still unprogrammed funds. Mahigit 100 billion 'yan eh. So we're looking at all of that.

So saan napupunta yung Malampaya funds? Programmed o unprogrammed?

'Yung Malampaya, it is used to finance the programmed fund, but then it is an off-budget item pa. Kaya pati si Secretary of Finance nalilito doon. It's because of how it was created, eh. That's why we are saying baguhin na natin 'yan. Para walang confusion.

(San ipapasok yan?) We can make it part of the general fund, so that all expenditures are in the GAA; I'm open also, if the President wishes, using it for AFP modernization or only for energy-related---open naman tayo diyan eh. Basta ayusin na natin at walang double-counting, in effect.

Magkano na ba yung Malampaya funds?

Ganoon kasimple lang naman 'yan eh. Magkano na ba ang nakolekta natin? 177. Minus 40, 137---yun ang fund. Pero hindi ibig isabihin na available lahat 'yun. Kasi kung available iyan, eh di ginastos na.

Nalinaw ba kanina kung nasaan yung 137?

We all know it's comingled in the budget. It is used to finance all other expenditures in the budget. Now, pag sinabi ng sinumang presidente---I'm not pinpointing President Aquino---kapag sinabi ng sinumang president na "gastustin natin ito", they will make it available. Kung kinakailangang umutang sila ng pera, they will make it available because that is what you call an appropriation balance. Accounting lahat yan eh. Pero kung proper cash management, hindi magandang practice iyon. It's not a good practice. Even the Secretary of Finance said so. It's not a good practice. So it's high time, baguhin na natin 'yung PD.

Hindi nasunod yung PD ng Malampaya dahil sabi doon energy related lang---

Ang sabi naman dito, "And for other purposes." Masyadong malawak. Because at the time, walang Kongreso noon---we were under Martial Law. There was no Congress.

Lalagyan ng specific provisions?

I would prefer that to happen, yes. And we're open to suggestions from the Palace. We're open to suggestions from the Budget Secretary and the Secretary of Finance.

Mechanism to transfer the remaining 2013 PDAF to the calamity fund

After this interview, I will be studying the matter in my office. But I think, at present, the bigger calamity is not being able to use that money for the calamity victims. Remember, all of this happened in the last 30 days: the Zamboanga siege, Santi, and then the earthquake. In Bohol, there have been tens of thousands of houses that have been destroyed. Maraming nangangailangan ng tulong diyan, that's for sure. Not to mention public works that need to be constructed.

So as I said, for me the bigger calamity here is not being able to use this money. Sayang naman, para sana sa mga biktima ng kalamidad.

Pwede galawin kahit may TRO?

Congress has the power over the purse. Congress can make a supplemental budget, authorize the President to spend this amount of money for any particular purpose. Moreso to increase the calamity fund, if necessary.

(Magkano ba calamity fund?) Ang alam ko in 2013, the budget for that is 7.5 billion. If I recall. We did a study in the office, and every year, ang gastos natin sa calamities mahigit 20 billion na eh. So I was saying, for 2014, maybe we should tweak the budget naand increase the calamity fund to 20 billion. Taasan na natin. Alam naman na natin, this is the new normal. The new norm. I will try to convince my colleague (to increase the calamity fund).

Do you know how much is left?

I have no idea at the moment. There have been no hearings about this. But we will probably hear about this later, there is a DBCC meeting this afternoon. We can find out from the Budget Secretary.

One day may budget, the next wala nang calamity fund...

Hindi ko alam. Iba naman yung nababasa sa dyaryo, at depende kung anong dyaryo, iba rin naman yng formal data from a budget deliberation. Pero lahat binabasa ko naman. Katulad niyan nalilito na rin ako paminsan-minsan.

Re: Napoles at the Blue Ribbon, subpoena served.

I have no idea what she will say, or not say. We all hope that she will tell the truth. That's all I can say for the moment. It's hard for me to speculate, eh.

May dapat bang ibang diskarte?

Pag-uusapan namin sa opisina mamaya, kung anong bagong diskarte ang kakailanganin diyan.

What will you ask Napoles?

You'll find out during the hearing.

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