Senate eyes supplemental budget for flood control projectsBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate is considering the passage of a supplemental budget or even an adjustment of the P2.006-trillion budget for the immediate implementation of flood control projects and other means to respond to the massive flooding brought by stronger than usual monsoon rains.
Senator Franklin Drilon, the chair of the Senate committee on finance, expressed concern over a potential negative effect of the last week’s widespread flooding on the country’s economy and growth targets.
“If necessary, we are willing to recommend to the Senate a supplementary budget or adjust the 2013 proposed budget for medium and long term projects that will be needed to immediately address the calamities,” Drilon said in a statement.
“Infusion of funds for rehabilitation will enable the economy to achieve the programmed GDP growth of 5-6%. It should be noted that the result of typhoon Ondoy in 2009, there was a reduction in gross domestic growth of 0.4 percent as against programmed,” said Drilon.
Congress is at present going through deliberations on the allocations proposed by the executive branch in the more than two-trillion-peso GAA for 2013.
Drilon, a staunch ally and party mate of President Aquino’s, said the government may need foreign loans to implement a long-term flood mitigation plan that the Department of Public Works and Highwats to be at around P352 billion.
He said there are now only about P10.9 billion available for re-alignment consisting of P9.4 billion in savings from the 2012 General Appropriations Act and P1.5 billion in savings from the 2011 national budget.
The 2012 savings, Drilon said, were basically realized from the unused budgets for unfilled positions in the first half of the year, and some unused allocation for Public-Private Partnership for school buildings. With a report from Katherine Evangelista, INQUIRER.net