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PostSubject: Coloma, Carandang get separate budgets    Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:41 am

MANILA, Philippines - Two secretaries of President Aquino’s communications group will have separate budgets next year.

Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will have control over P976.2 million.

On the other hand, Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) will have about P200 million.

The two communications agencies were created by Mr. Aquino’s Executive Order 4.

Coloma and Carandang have the authority to speak for the President.

It is not clear if presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, who also holds the rank of secretary, will have his own budget.

Coloma told the House of Representatives committee on appropriations that Carandang and Lacierda are under the Office of the President (OP).

Coloma’s office will have more than P900 million because six agencies are under it.

The Bureau of Broadcast Services, which operates the government’s radio stations, will have P292.8 million; the Philippine Information Agency, P249.6 million; National Printing Office, P137 million; PCOO proper, P99 million; News and Information Bureau, P91.1 million; Presidential Broadcast Staff, P77.8 million; and Bureau of Communications Services, P29 million.

During the hearing, Coloma said sequestered TV stations Channel 9 and IBC 13 would be privatized as soon as possible.

Lawmaker: Nothing in 2011 budget for septuagenarians

Next year’s proposed national budget of P1.645 trillion has nothing for the nation’s two million septuagenarians, according to a lawmaker.

Camarines Norte Rep. Elmer Panotes said Malacañang has manifest prejudice against senior citizens between 70 to 79 years old.

Panotes said 2011 the General Appropriations Bill denied any benefit to septuagenarians.

The budget department had allocated P871 million for a P500 monthly pension for indigent senior citizens who have reached 80 years old, he added.

Panotes said about 865,950 Filipinos aged 60 to 69 will also benefit from a free immunization program.

“At least two million senior citizens who have reached 70 but are not yet 80 also need government help,” he said.

DepEd told to justify workshops

Education Secretary Armin Luistro instructed all offices of the Department of Education (DepEd) nationwide to justify their planned trainings, seminars, workshops, conferences, and other capacity-building activities.

“Effective immediately, we should seriously watch our department’s spending,” he said.

“We should only allocate funds for worthwhile endeavors as we are also currently reviewing the budget to rationalize expenses.”

Luistro said the order covers all forms of training activities and other capacity-building programs.

“The review will somehow reduce training expenditures and prioritize important ones in terms of needs and effectiveness in addressing the key policies, thrusts and directions enumerated in DepEd Order 25 series of 2010 and in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All targets within five years,” he said.

Luistro said all proposals must contain justifications and supporting documents, objectives and outputs, number of target participants and level of competencies for the targets, and expense details of the project or program.

“As President Aquino makes education a top priority in the next six years, DepEd is set to scale up basic education performance to ensure that all school-age children are in school by 2015.

“We are doing our mighty best to deliver what is expected of us given the perennial lack of resources that continues to hobble the department.”

Education Undersecretary Yolando Quijano’s team will review all the proposals as instructed by Luistro.

Drilon: Budget not overstated

Senate finance committee chairman Franklin Drilon allayed fears yesterday that next year’s proposed national budget has overstated by P 7.7 billion the appropriations for interest payments.

“If it is overstated by P7 billion it means that the program deficit is also overstated by P7 billion, that only means that you will have less borrowings because we add on a deficit, and your borrowings will be dictated by the size of your deficit,” he said.

“If you reduce the size of your deficit because you overstated the interest payments and the exchange rate, therefore you will have less borrowings.”

Last week, Sen. Ralph Recto, Senate committee on ways and means chairman, said the amount for interest payments proposed in the 2011 national budget might have been overstated by as much as P7.7 billion.

The “excess” cannot be rechanneled to social services after the budget department shielded debt service from congressional review, he added.

Drilon said the assumption that the interest payments might have been overstated could be wrong.

“Nobody will know that because that will depend on how the economy looks like in the next 12 months,” he said.

Sen. Edgardo Angara has expressed reservations about the proposed P1.645-trillion budget.

“We should concern ourselves not so much with taming our deficit,” he said. “Instead, we should remind ourselves that our goal is to grow our country, and enhance the income and living standards of our people through job creation.”

Angara has expressed concern that the 2011 budget does not address the fundamental needs of our country.

Next year’s budget is not responding to the basic, economic and social problems of the country where about 70 percent of the people live on P42 a day, and about 4,000 families are hungry, he added.

It does not need congressional authorization to spend the balance of P711 billion in automatic appropriation items, according to Malacañang.

The P711-billion represents expenditure items which Congress deemed fit to automatically appropriate, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said. –With Rainier Allan Ronda, Paolo Romero, Christina Mendez

source phil star
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