Sen. Lacson chaired the hearing for the 2020 budgets of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, Mindanao Development Authority, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process.
Lacson advised the SPDA to find ways to make its revenue-generating projects more competitive, and consider privatizing or offering for sale the projects that are losing money for government. He urged the OPAPP to coordinate with the appropriate agencies on funding and security of projects in conflict-affected areas.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lacson lauded the MinDA for its fruit festival program bringing Mindanao farmers’ produce to other parts of the country, and vice-versa. “That’s very creative and innovative,” he said.
He indicated the additional funding requests that can be justified could be addressed via “pork” funds that may be found in – and excised from – the proposed 2020 budget. “Maghahanap ako ng pork na makakaltasan,” he said.
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Sen. Lacson suggested that the SPDA study which of the projects it maintains are generating revenues and which are losing money. “Hindi ba mas magandang business sense ang piliin ang viable, and dispose ang losing?” he said.
The SPDA is seeking P758,970,974 for 2020, higher than the P75,574,000 recommended by the Department of Budget and Management.
In tackling the 2020 budget of the OPAPP, Sen. Lacson urged the agency to coordinate with the concerned agencies such as DPWH and AFP in implementing development projects in conflict-affected areas. He also urged the OPAPP to ensure an improved utilization rate for its projects.
“Are you prepared to provide through the AFP to provide security when these projects are being implemented? Sa NPA-infested areas nariyan ang taxation, harassment at sisirain ang projects. This is more complicated,” Lacson said.
The OPAPP is seeking P3,855,608,612 for PAMANA projects in 2020.
Sen. Lacson lauded the MinDA for its MinDA Fruit Festival where Mindanao farmers’ produce was brought to areas including Baguio City and Pangasinan. MinDA head Emmanuel Piñol said arrangements are being finalized to add tuna to the items in the caravan.
“That’s very creative and innovative. You deserve commendation not just from this chair but from the Filipino people,” Sen. Lacson told Sec. Piñol, referring to the fruit festival program.
MinDA is asking for P72.509M for its new programs in 2020.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lacson said the requests by agencies for additional funding may be addressed by pork funds that can be found in – and excised from – the proposed national budget for 2020. “Maghahanap ako ng pork na makakaltasan,” he said.