Senate eyes budget cuts for Pasig River rehab agency
MANILA, Philippine—Senators are poised to slash by half the proposed P261 million budget of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) next year.
Senator Cynthia Villar, head of the Senate committee on environment, moved for the deletion of the P135.2 million budget for “Design/Riverbanks Development and Flood Control Program” and the P9.1 budget for housing of informal settlers.”
“I’d like to move that we remove this budget for ‘Easement Recovery, Housing and Resettlement Program from the Pasig River. I don’t think they can do this,” Villar said during the hearing of the Senate finance subcommittee on Friday.
“And this Design/Riverbanks Development and Flood Control Program,’” she added, noting that it should be under the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Aside from the two items in the PRRC’s budget, Villar also questioned its “social preparations” program.
“Ano ba yung maga social preparations na yan? Ang gusto lang ng mga squatter lilipatan dun sa NHA (National Housing Authority). Yun lang gusto nila and then bibigyan mo sila ng pera to cover yung kanilang mawawalang trabaho habang lumilipat sila. Wala na yung social preparation. Naku naman,” she said.
(What are these social preparations? The squatters only want the housing of the NHA where they can transfer. That’s what they only want. And then give them money to cover for the livelihood that they have to give up when they move. There’s no need for that social preparation.)
“ Tanggalin na natin sa budget yan. Hindi naman totoo yan. Wala na yan, tanggalin nyo na sa budget yan kasi wala yan,” said the senator.
(Let’s remove that in the budget. It’s not true anyway. It’s nothing, let’s just delete that in the budget.)
It was neophyte Senator Francis Tolentino, who suggested to take out the housing funding from the PRRC as he wants that all housing budgets lodged in various agencies and offices be consolidated under the newly-created Department of Housing.
“I believe, Madam chair that the Pasig River Commission has no core competency in so far as housing is concerned,” Tolentino said.
“Hindi ko alam yung core competency nyo sa housing [I don’t know your core competency in housing]. Do you have a construction arm? Do you have engineers, do yo have architects? I’ve been looking at your plantilla parang wala… [I don’t think there is],” Tolentino said.
“Siguro madam I would propose that we relieve them of that responsibility of having a housing component na mukhang hindi naman nila kaya at hind nila dapat gawin [which they probably can’t do and they are not supposed to do],” Tolentino added. /jpv
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