Tag: Office of the President

On Calls to Create a Department of Disaster Resilience

Image Courtesy: UNICEF Philippines Twitter account

It is relatively easy to pass a law creating new departments. But would it be feasible, and will there be proper funding for it? The Department of Budget and Management says at least P1.5 billion is needed to set up the department. That does not yet include added salaries, capital outlay like office facilities, furniture, vehicles, MOOE, and CIF.

During the first public hearing last January, no less than the stakeholders who served as resource persons also cited concerns about creating a new department for disaster and risk reduction:

First, there is a policy direction for right-sizing the bureaucracy that is already bloated.

Second, the implementation especially of recovery and rehabilitation will be carried out not by the proposed new department but by existing agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Health.

Third, we can see that the newly created departments like the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development cannot be properly funded, or at least are not given the appropriate funding to work properly.

One good example is the DICT, which for two budget years in a row has been asking for additional budget to establish and develop the country’s national broadband program and free Wi-Fi services for all government agencies. But the DBM has provided just a paltry sumin the case of the national broadband program, providing only P900 million out of the agency’s request for P18 billion.

Having said that, a dedicated office under the Office of the President with a Cabinet rank and full authority to mobilize the concerned government agencies before, during and after calamities both natural and man-made – from policy-making and planning all the way to implementation – would do the job with much less funding and minimum number of staff and personnel. In contrast, a council-type organization like the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has a very limited capability mainly because it is merely coordinative.

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On the DBM Chief’s Possible Recommendation for a Special Session on the 2019 Budget

Mr. President, I’m not interpellating on the budget of the Offce of the President. This is just a very quick manifestation and I’d like to take advantage of the presence of Executive Secretary Medialdea. I would like to issue an appeal to him not to endorse the anticipated recommendation of Secretary of DBM Ben Diokno to call for a special session.

Because looking at the schedule, Mr. President, after this agency, the Office of the President, we still have to tackle some big ones. Department of Tourism, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Justice – at least the Bureau of Immigration, Commission on Audit, Comelec, Ombudsman, DOH, DND, DILG. And even if the President calls for a special session, even if we extend our session for another five days, for another week, it is impossible, Mr. President, for us to enact the budget bill before the year ends.

So I’d like to again reiterate of course with the concurrence of this body, I’d like to make that appeal. Quoting Jesus Christ: β€˜the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,’ Mr. President.

Thank you Mr. President, and may we have the commitment of the Executive Secretary… that he will not endorse and he will block, as a matter of fact, Mr. President?

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Interview on DWIZ | July 7, 2018

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– COA report that Office of the President’s confidential/intel funds up 350% from 2016
– killing of Mayor Antonio Halili
– peace talks with CPP-NPA-NDF
– proposed amendments to the Constitution

Quotes from the interview…Β  Continue reading “Interview on DWIZ | July 7, 2018”