Press Release
November 16, 2020

Manifestation of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Vice Chair, Senate Finance Committee
On the proposed 2021 budget for the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)

To the good Sponsor, as you know, I already made a manifestation on the general principles. But my manifestation, the next one I prepared, is for NEDA. But because some of our colleagues were not yet able to go online, I offered to go first. And in any case, my manifestation for NEDA also overlaps with the general principles, Mr. President and Sponsor...

Mr. President, when I made my manifestation last week, on the general principles, I focused on the futures thinking, the importance of futures thinking. For NEDA, my focus really would be to ensure that we put in sufficient budgets to monitor our sustainable development goals.

This recent typhoon has shown again the gaps that we have, our vulnerabilities. We cannot keep guessing or trying to second guess nature and wonder what will hit us next. But if we stick with the sustainable development goals, we will cover everything - poverty, health, education... And I'll go now to the specifics that people have been clamoring to hear. What has government action been to prevent or to at least minimize the damage of this typhoon Ulysses. And for that matter, it's not about Ulysses. It's about any other national calamity that hits our calamity-prone country.

So, for this specific, Mr. President, again it's not hard to look for guidance. The SDGs have two very specific goals that we can look at and that would be Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11). We tend to think that when we refer to sustainable cities, cities lang like the metropolis, Metro Manila. Pero sustainable communities yun. So when we build areas and communities that are prone to disaster, or over time, it is also possible that over time, they were also not prone to disaster, when those communities were established 100 years ago. But they are now. We need to reassess and we need to adjust. So that's sustainable communities.

And then there's also Life on Land (SDG 15). And SDG 15 specifically refers to typhoons, landslides, and the like, and forestry. This, as we know, can assist us in managing typhoons. I believe no less than the governor of Cagayan said that illegal logging could definitely be a factor in the unimaginable kind of flooding that his province was hit with. So that is covered by SDG 15.

So I will not ask for a response. I want my chair to be able to save his energy for the rest of the day, but I simply want to be assured that our key decision-makers hear this concern of mine that we are not paying enough attention and we are not putting very minimal funding lang na requirement. That's why I want you to be sure that the secretaries there...

If I am not mistaken, I tried to propose a few millions, not even 30, 50, 100 million. Just a few million pesos of research that would allow them to do baseline studies and do staff work. I hope that during the period of amendments, this amendment of mine would be accepted. Because it is not acceptable that we do not have the baselines, the recommendations coming from NEDA on what we need to do to achieve these goals.

We cannot suddenly put all our resources on this flooding. There will be other calamities. There will be other needs. Kids have been out of school for almost a year. So we'll have to focus on all the SDGs. That's why I need NEDA on board, I need DBM to be able to finance the needs of NEDA so that they can come up with their research and directions for the agencies to follow.

I'll leave it at that, Mr. President, Mr. Sponsor. I just want to be assured that the secretaries hear my plea. Thank you!

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