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Senate eyes budget cuts for Pasig River rehab agency

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 03:22 PM September 27, 2019
Villar

Sen. Cynthia Villar. INQUIRER.net file photo / CATHY MIRANDA

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.”

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“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.

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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.

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“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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TAGS: budget, environment, Housing, Pasig River, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Pollution, Senate
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