Press Release
November 11, 2013

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon
Philippine Dental Association and House of Delegates Midyear Session
Monday, November 11, 2013
Manila Hotel

Q: On the suggestion proposal to declare Martial Law

SP DRILON: Martial law is not necessary. This is just a law enforcement issue, I think our police and law enforcement agencies are more than capable to enforce the law.

Q: Yung House will give P10,000 from each member for the victims of Yolanda, what will the Senate do?

SP DRILON: These recent calamities made everybody realize the need for some flexibility of the part of the Executive branch in addressing these massive destruction. I think the President's Social Fund can handle the relief operations. What is critical is the rehabilitation. I would propose that the proposed P2.68-trillion 2014 national budget be reconstituted and recast in order for the government to have a rehabilitation fund which can respond quickly to the needs of the affected provinces. Remember that the 2014 national budget is barely six weeks away from effectivity, therefore I would urge the DBM to submit a new budget proposal which we can consider in the Senate and during the Bicam taking into account the need for funds for massive rehabilitation that we would need. We can immediately recast and re-align certain items in the proposed 2014 national budget and reflect these in the proposed General Appropriations Act for 2014. This is necessary. We have not approved the budget yet. There is time to recast the budget because when this budget was crafted at the start of the year, certainly nobody could have predicted the severe damages caused by the recent typhoon Yolanda, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol and Cebu and the siege in Zamboanga City.

SP DRILON: It can be in the form of a special fund or calamity fund. What is important is that there is a specific source of funding for rehabilitation and not just ordinary funds in the line department. If we do not this and if we cannot respond quickly, the President will be forced to realign funding because the 2014 National Expenditure Programs did not take into account the need for massive rehabilitation.

We can do it in the Senate and in the Bicam, we can adjust the budget to reflect the new necessities.

Q: When do you expect the DBM to submit its proposal?

SP DRILON: As soon as possible so we can introduce these as amendments to the General Appropriations Bill when we debate on the 2014 budget.

Q: Are we talking here of a lumpsum fund?

SP DRILON: It can be a lumpsum because we need quick response fund for rehabilitation so that we can respond quickly.

Q: Is looting justifiable?

SP DRILON: There is no justification for looting. We must enforce the law. But we do recognize that this (looting) happened because of the situation.

SP DRILON: The 2014 budget should be revised and recast so that the funds can be created in the budget which can quickly respond to the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure and address the need of the people greatly affected by these past calamities. Unless we do this, the source will only be the calamity fund and the regular items in the budget and those may not be sufficient. The DBM is in the best position to review its proposed items of expenses in 2014 budget and recast the budget so that when the General Appropriations Act of 2014 is passed, it will already reflect the fund needed for the rehabilitation of all these areas.

Q: Is this as easy as tweaking the budget?

SP DRILON: No. The GAA did not take into account these calamities given the massive and unexpected destruction caused by the earthquake and the typhoons. There must be a proposal from the DBM.

Q: If the budget is recast, would it have to go the House of Representatives?

SP DRILON: No more. We will introduce it as amendments because we will be debating on the 2014 budget and therefore, we have the opportunity to make amendments in accordance with the proposal to be submitted by the DBM. But let me emphasize, they are not congressional insertions. It should come from the DBM because it knows which items in the budget can still be used for the rehabilitation.

SP DRILON: Kailangan po nating magsamasama. Ang akin ay pwedeng baguhin ang budget ng 2014 para matugunan ang pangangailangan ng mga biktima ng budget. Hindi pa po huli ang lahat dahil ang budget ay pagdedebatehan pa lamang sa Senado. Ang importante ay ang inputs ay manggagaling sa DBM dahil sila ang nakakaalam kung aling items ang pwedeng ilipat para sa mga napinsalang probinsiya.

Q: Would revising the budget affect the target passage of the budget?

SP DRILON: No. it will not because I am sure the senators will realize the need to revise the budget. The 2014 budget clearly did not take into account the need for massive and immediate rehabilitation of infrastructure.

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