Recto wants P15-B more for Marawi

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page -

SEN­A­TOR Ralph Recto on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 8, pro­posed an ad­di­tional standby fund worth P15 bil­lion for the re­con­struc­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of war-torn Marawi City.

The amount will be on top of the P10-bil­lion “Ban­gon Marawi Fund” that is al­ready in the 2018 na­tional bud­get pro­posal.

Recto said the pro­posed amount can be in­cluded in the Un­pro­grammed Ap­pro­pri­a­tions por­tion of the P3.76-tril­lion spend­ing mea­sure.

Park­ing that amount in the Un­pro­grammed Ap­pro­pri­a­tions would can­cel the need for the pas­sage of a sup­ple­men­tal ap­pro­pri­a­tion bill in the event that the P10-bil­lion al­lot­ment for Marawi is not enough, or has been fully spent be­fore the end of next year, Recto said.

De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana ear­lier said that “at least P50 bil­lion” will be needed to re­build Marawi, which Recto de­scribed “as more dam­aged than Mo­sul,” the

north­ern city in Iraq re­cently lib­er­ated from Is­lamic State of Iraq and Syria.

“Marawi is both a source of light and en­light­en­ment. Thus any aid pack­age should be viewed within that con­text. To a large ex­tent, the aid we will be giv­ing is some sort of a pay­back,” Recto said.

Recto said Marawi has given Min­danao “knowl­edge and power” worth hun­dreds of bil­lions of pe­sos over the years.

“Let us al­ways keep in mind that Marawi is the cap­i­tal of the prov­ince where Lanao Lake is, which is the source of about 40 per­cent of Min­danao’s power sup­ply,” Recto said.

It is also where the main cam­pus of the Min­danao State Uni­ver­sity is lo­cated, Recto added, which has pro­duced thou­sands of grad­u­ates since its found­ing in 1961.

Un­der bud­get laws, Recto said, amounts au­tho­rized un­der Un­pro­grammed Ap­pro­pri­a­tions can only be re­leased when tax and non-tax rev­enues ex­ceed col­lec­tion goals, or if loans for a par­tic­u­lar ac­tiv­ity are se­cured.

Recto be­lieves that th­ese “two trig­gers” will be sat­is­fied as “there is a high in­ter­est from donors of of­fi­cial de­vel­op­ment aid or ODA, and our eco­nomic man­agers are gungho in meet­ing rev­enue tar­gets.”

“Thus, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of any of th­ese, what Congress can do is pro­vide the spend­ing au­thor­ity in the Gen­eral Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Act, which the ex­ec­u­tive branch can later use,” Recto said.

He added that Un­pro­grammed Ap­pro­pri­a­tions, which is pro­posed at P75.34 bil­lion for 2018, “is a reg­u­lar, im­por­tant, but not so prom­i­nent fea­ture of the bud­get. It is the hid­den big ticket item.”

For next year, P5 bil­lion for AFP mod­ern­iza­tion is charged to this fund, and so is P18.9 bil­lion in “sup­port for in­fra­struc­ture and so­cial pro­grams.”

But the big­gest item in the Un­pro­grammed Ap­pro­pri­a­tions, Recto said, is for the so-called “risk man­age­ment,” for which P30 bil­lion is au­tho­rized to cover ma­tur­ing obli­ga­tions and other gov­ern­ment com­mit­ments un­der var­i­ous Pub­lic-Pri­vate Part­ner­ship (PPP) projects.

“Kung may­roon tay­ong in­i­lalaan na (If we had re­served) P30 bil­lion for the change or­ders, cost over­runs, con­tin­gent li­a­bil­i­ties sa PPP, bakit hindi rin natin gawin ito para sa (why can’t we also do it for) Marawi?” Recto said.

“We can rear­range, re­vise the com­po­nents of the un­pro­grammed fund to ac­com­mo­date the needs of Marawi, which must be pri­or­i­tized,” Recto said. SunStar Philip­pines

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