Tag: 2021 budget

#PINGterview: Likely Delay in Passage of 2021 Budget; Sec. Duque’s WHO Post

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* likely delay in passage of 2021 budget
* Sec. Duque’s new post at the World Health Organization

QUOTES and NOTES:
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Ping, Aayuda para sa Dagdag Pondo ng National Broadband, Free Wi-Fi Programs sa 2021

Desidido si Senador Panfilo Lacson na itulak ang pagkakaloob ng malaking pondo sa pambansang gastusin sa susunod na taon ang national broadband program at libreng Wi-Fi.

Nakikita kasi ng mambabatas na ang mga programang nabanggit ang magiging pundasyon para tumibay ang ekonomiya ng bansa.

“This is the backbone of our economy. In this day and age of modern information technology, we have no reason not to catch up or to be at par with neighboring countries, considering that potential investors’ first concern would be internet speed,” banggit ni Lacson sa pagdinig ng Senado sa panukalang badyet ng Department of Information and Communications Technology at National Telecommunications Commission.

Ayon kay Lacson, ang maasahang ICT system ay nangangahulugan ng mas maraming oportunidad para sa mga Pinoy na maipakita ang kagalingan at abilidad.

“I am a believer in ICT because there is so much we can do if our ICT is efficient,” dagdag pa ng mambabatas.

Related: ‘ICT Believer’: Lacson Commits to Support Bigger 2021 Budgets for National Broadband, Free Wi-Fi Programs
Continue reading “Ping, Aayuda para sa Dagdag Pondo ng National Broadband, Free Wi-Fi Programs sa 2021”

‘ICT Believer’: Lacson Commits to Support Bigger 2021 Budgets for National Broadband, Free Wi-Fi Programs

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Tuesday threw his full support behind the government’s plan to provide free Wi-Fi especially in far-flung areas, and to set up a national broadband program.

Lacson said he will push for a bigger budget for the two programs, as he noted these will serve as the backbone of the country’s economy.

“This is the backbone of our economy. In this day and age of modern information technology, we have no reason not to catch up or to be at par with neighboring countries, considering that potential investors’ first concern would be internet speed,” Lacson said at the budget hearing for the Department of Information and Communications Technology and National Telecommunications Commission.

“I am a believer in ICT because there is so much we can do if our ICT is efficient,” he added.

Related: Ping, Aayuda para sa Dagdag Pondo ng National Broadband, Free Wi-Fi Programs sa 2021
Continue reading “‘ICT Believer’: Lacson Commits to Support Bigger 2021 Budgets for National Broadband, Free Wi-Fi Programs”

#PINGterview: Sec. Duque, ‘Di Pa Lusot sa PhilHealth Mess; DPWH Lump Sums, Pondohan ang Universal Health Care?

In an interview on DZBB/GNTV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* options on further actions regarding anomalies at PhilHealth
* possible use of questionable sums in DPWH budget to address budget shortage for health care in 2021

QUOTES and NOTES:
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Bakit Malaki ang Tapyas sa 2021 Badyet ng PDEA at DDB?

Kung hindi pa isinasantabi ng administrasyong Duterte ang gyera sa ilegal na droga, bakit binawasan ang mga kahilingan o proposal ng DDB mula P520.4 milyon to P344.5 milyon; at ng PDEA mula proposal na P4.911 bilyon to P2.731 bilyon sa NEP?

Habang nag-issue ang Pangulo ng EO 66 noong 2018 para magkaroon ng multi-agency approach ang gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng PADS (Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy) kaya pinasumite ang 61 ahensya ng budget para suportahan itong strategy, apat lamang ang pinabibigyan ng pondo ng DBM ng P2.053 bilyon sa ilalim ng NEP.

Pati ang mga augmentation na ginawa ng Senado para sa kanilang 2020 budget ay isinama sa “FLR (For Later Release)” at hindi ni-release: P81.9 milyon sa DDB at P106.1 milyon sa PDEA, ayon sa DBM Circular 580. Dahil dito, nadiskaril ang kanilang mga nakalinya na at umiiral na mga PAPs tulad ng ICT training at pambili ng ICT equipment.

Tuloy dapat ang laban sa illegal drugs, may COVID man o wala. Kaya naiintindihan ko ang hinaing at pakiusap ng DDB at PDEA sa pagdinig kahapon tungkol sa 2021 budget nila kung pwedeng madagdagan ng Senado ang kanilang tinapyas na budget.

May kasabihan tayo: Tulak ng bibig, kabig ng dibdib. Iyan ba ang nangyayari ngayon sa laban sa ilegal na droga sa kabila ng libu-libong napatay na mula noong 2016 pa?

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#PINGterview: Mahiwagang ‘Addendum’ ng DPWH sa 2021 Budget

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* DPWH’s ‘addendum’ in the 2021 budget
* Ombudsman Martires’ policies on SALN, lifestyle check

QUOTES and NOTES:
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When ‘Savings’ are Actually Shortcomings: On the DSWD’s Handling of the SAP

It’s just unfortunate that I was presiding over the hearing on the proposed 2021 budgets of the OPAPP, SPDA and MinDA yesterday, at the same time that the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s budget was being deliberated by another subcommittee.

I would have manifested that hundreds of thousands of mouths are still waiting to be fed just to survive, and that the agency should at least mind those poor souls.

I would have insisted that the DSWD utilize the P10 billion for distribution, instead of prematurely declaring the same as “savings” after it scaled down the number of cash aid beneficiaries by four million households.

In actual fact, I sent an official letter to DSWD Sec. Rolando Bautista more than a week ago on behalf of a listed beneficiary family who I do not even know or have met, that has been following up to receive their SAP subsidy but to no avail. Not being arrogant or trying to throw my weight around, I have not even received a “yes” or “no” response even from a clerk of DSWD.

If this is not failure of planning, preparation, coordination and implementation, I do not know how to describe it.

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Sen. Lacson Chairs the Hearing for the 2021 Budgets of OPAPP, SPDA, MinDA

Sen. Lacson chaired the hearing for the 2021 budgets of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, Mindanao Development Authority, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process.

At the start of the hearing, Sen. Lacson noted all three agencies were recipients of congressional initiatives initiated by his subcommittee and eventually included in the 2020 GAA. “Unfortunately as we all know, medyo tinamaan tayo ng COVID, so ang iba nabawasan, ang iba di na-release at all.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Lacson stressed the importance of ensuring regular funding for the OPAPP’s normalization program, as part of government’s long-term commitment to the peace process. The OPAPP aims to decommission 40,000 combatants by 2022, according to OPAPP Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. “Since this is a program, dapat recurring budget ito under OPAPP because this is a long-term commitment… We cannot renege on this commitment. Otherwise sayang lang lahat na effort sa peace process natin especially with the passage of the BARMM organic act. Medyo kailangan pangatawanan natin ito,” Sen. Lacson said.

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On the Early Fighting over ‘Pork’ in the 2021 Budget

This early, we are already seeing the ugly effects of “pork.”

More than the possible delay in the passage of the 2021 national budget, any ugly squabble in plenary over the distribution of earmarks a.k.a. “pork” is exactly that – ugly.

When statesmanship goes out the window, our people’s respect towards the legislature as an institution as well as its individual members somehow dissipates.

Any way we look at it, it is sad and lamentable, to say the least.

Having said that, the total amount representing P135 billion covering 5,913 reappropriated items and P396 billion in lump sum appropriations lodged in the central office of the DPWH may need further clarification.

It is basic that once an infra project has started its implementation, it is already obligated. Hence, there can be no partial cash allocation, unless that project is discontinued, cancelled, or terminated. Then, the unused portion of the appropriation becomes savings that may be realigned. Or, if the project is covered by Multi Year Contractual Authority (MYCA), formerly known as MYOA or Multi Year Obligational Authority which is clearly spelled out and provided in the 2020 GAA, the same item can reappear in the succeeding budget year.

We were not born yesterday as far as budgeting is concerned.

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A Whopping Half-Trillion Pesos and Counting: On Questionable Appropriations in the Proposed 2021 Budget

In our continuing efforts to scrutinize the 2021 National Expenditure Program, particularly on the issue of “re-appropriations” and “lump sum appropriations” involving infrastructure projects under the DPWH, we have found that the initial amount of P73.5 billion covering 2,933 items has now ballooned to P135.8 billion involving 5,913 projects – thus effectively increasing the total questionable appropriations to P532.3 billion from the initial P469 billion that we exposed earlier, including lump sums in the amount of P396.4 billion.

Considering the projects under “Operations” in the proposed budget of the DPWH has total appropriations of P613.1 billion, easily 87 percent or P532.3 billion is deemed questionable.

Having said all that, a legal question needs to be addressed as we progress in our plenary budget deliberations: Will this kind of “errata” be allowed by the Senate, or Congress for that matter, if the items to be rectified do not involve simple typographical errors or other similar minor errors like interchanged or misplaced items in the NEP?

Therefore, if my colleagues will not allow such major rectification, we may see a 2021 GAA that is reduced by more than half a trillion pesos.

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