Senate open to funding of antiflood projectsBy Jerry Esplanada, Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The senate is open to passing a supplemental budget to finance projects aimed at addressing massive flooding brought by stronger-than-usual monsoon rains.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, chair of the Senate committee on finance, on Tuesday said that he would consider a proposal from Malacañang for additional funding for the repair of bridges, dikes and other infrastructure damaged by the flooding that paralyzed Metro Manila last week.
“We’d wait for a proposal if the President needs a supplemental budget,” Drilon told reporters after his committee heard the budget proposal of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Drilon earlier said the government might need foreign loans to finance the public works department’s long-term flood mitigation plan estimated to cost P352 billion.
Studies for 12 river basins
Aside from its flood control master plan for Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has completed similar plans for 12 of its 56 priority river basins nationwide for effective and comprehensive flood management.
In a report furnished the Inquirer, the DPWH Project Management Office for Major Flood Control Projects on Tuesday said that feasibility studies for 12 other river basins were ongoing.
There are 421 major river basins all over the country.
The government has allocated at least P4.91 billion in the next two years for the construction of water impounding and other flood control structures in the 56 river basins.
Citing the constitutional provision against going beyond the amount proposed by the executive branch in its budget proposal, Drilon said the Senate would wait for any proposal from the executive branch for a supplemental budget or an adjustment in next year’s appropriations program.
Adjust 2013 budget?
He expressed concern over the potential negative effect of the widespread flooding on the country’s economy.
“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,” the senator said.
“The infusion of funds for rehabilitation will enable the economy to achieve the programmed GDP growth of 5 to 6 percent. It should be noted that the result of Tropical Storm ‘Ondoy’ in 2009 was a 0.4-percent reduction in gross domestic growth as against the programmed (target),” he said.