Press Release
November 18, 2013

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon
Monday, November 18, 2013

SPFMD: We will first hear the budgets of the departments who are not intimately involved in the relief operations. The demands on their time because of relief operations would not enable them to attend our hearings on the budget. Those agencies who are not involved - DoF, DFA - will have them this week. Tomorrow, there will be a sponsorship on the 2014 budget. Agencies like the DOH, the DILG, the DSWD, hopefully we would hear from them next week, barring the constraints of time because of the relief operations. Hopefully the time would enable them to attend hearings next week. Those which are not involved in the relief operations like the Department of Finance and the Department of Foreign Affairs and other agencies similarly not directly involved, we can them this week. So tomorrow, there will be a sponsorship of the committee report. That was our agreement.

Q: On the abolition or realignment of the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) on the 2014 budget

SPFMD: Well, fifteen senators have submitted our amendment to the budget so that it will reduce the budget to the extent of P3 billion which represents the P200 million allocation per senator times the 15 senators. The others I believe want theirs to be in the calamity fund, while some want theirs in other social agencies. What is important is that there will be no discretion on the part of the legislators and the senators as to where these PDAF will be allocated. It will be a part of the budget of the line agencies. Insofar as the Senate is concerned, 15 of us senators have decided to abolish our PDAF allocation.

Q: If the Senate version of the PDAF will be P3 billion less than the House version

SPFMD: That is correct.

Q: On Senator Trillanes' allocation of his PDAF funds

SPFMD: That will be respected. Wala naman na siyang discretion dun. Wala na ang pork barrel system.

Q: If the PDAF will be transferred/realigned into calamity fund

SPFMD: No. The P billion will be deducted from the budget. That also means that the budget deficit would be reduced by P3 billion.

Q: On the morning afternoon sessions by the Senate

SPFMD: Yes. What we have agreed on is that we will prioritize those agencies which are not involved in the relief operations. We will have those involved in the current relief operations on the plenary next week, so hopefully they could devote time for the plenary sessions then

Q: Definitely no re-enacted budget?

SPFMD: Definitely, there will be no re-enacted budget.

Q: When is the target to approve second and third reading?

SPFMD: Tentatively, November 28.

Q: Kaya iyon, sir?

SPFMD: Kaya iyon.

Q: Sir, kapag isinalang po iyong mga budgets like DSWD, DILG, tatanungin po ba sila tungkol sa mga pagkukulang sa Yolanda?

SPFMD: I cannot predict what questions will be asked.

Q: Sir, iyong pag-tatap po ng Malampaya Funds for the recent calamity, will it lead amendments of the law governing the use of the Malampaya Funds kasi di ba specific sa Malampaya Funds na energy-related projects lang.

SPFMD: Or as the President may decide. We cannot amend it in the General Appropriations Act. The Malampaya Fund is a law and we cannot amend a substantive law in the budget. So, if it has to be amended, it has to be a separate law, not the budget.

Q: Sir, iyong sa Iloilo, kumusta ang visit ninyo?

SP: Well, the devastation was very substantial. The local government is in good control of the relief operation. What we now have to work on is the rehabilitation because the damage is extensive. The fifth district is flattened. There is no electricity. There is a danger that the Napocor barge which was removed from its mooring and was moved to the seashore could have a very dangerous oil leak there. About 2,000 liters. We have to provide the livelihood to the fishermen. There are about 10,000 fishermen who lost their bangkas. We will give them help in terms of rehabilitation. First, through the livelihood projects but a lot of public infrastructure like elementary schools. They all look the same. They have no roof. The health centers also have no roof. The transmission and distribution poles for electricity all look the same. They are bent on the side. So, a lot of rehabilitation must be done.

Q: Sir, ano 'yung efforts para ma-control iyong oil spill?

SPFMD: Well, we have directed the Napocor to take the lead because right now because nagtuturuan sila. That barge was already sold to a company although no delivery has yet been made. Nagtuturuan kung sino ang dapat magbayad sa expenses to make sure that the oil spill is solved. So, I told Napocor just to do it already because we cannot let these legal squabbles stop solving this problem.

Q: Sir maapektuhan ba iyong implementation ng dam?

SP: No, it wouldn't delay because Calinog was not in the path of the storm.

Q: Sir, iyong proposal mo P15 billion rehabilitation. Si Senator Chiz gusto niya P20 billion.

SPFMD: Sen. Chiz proposed additional P5 billion. So it would be now P20 billion.

Q: Not only in the Visayas pero lahat ng naapektuhan.

SPFMD: That's correct including the earthquake, rehabilitation of Zamboanga City, including Luzon.

Q: Na-identify ninyo iyong pagkukunan ng budget for that?

SPFMD: Yes, we have identified miscellaneous personnel benefit fund. Right now, the MBPF is P81 billion. We can reduce that to P61 billion because this is the fund that will cover salaries of newly created positions, vacant positions, so we can postpone the hiring of personnel.

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