Se­nate slashes bud­get for Dou­ble Bar­rel, Masa Masid

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page - SE­NATE,11

THE Se­nate voted 16-0 to ap­prove on third and fi­nal read­ing Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 29, the P3.767-tril­lion na­tional bud­get for 2018.

Oplan Dou­ble Bar­rel and Masa Masid, Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) pro­grams to im­ple­ment Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s war on drugs, were cut from the Se­nate ver­sion of the bud­get bill.

Sen­a­tor Loren Le­garda, chair­per­son of the Se­nate com­mit­tee on fi­nance and spon­sor of the bill, said the 2018 na­tional bud­get is a “propeo­ple” bud­get, which will ad­dress the most ba­sic needs of Filipinos.

The Se­nate al­lo­cated P131.628 bil­lion to the PNP next year.

“We cut the (Oplan) Dou­ble Bar­rel and Masa Masid of the PNP and DILG (De­part­ment of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment) while PDEA’s bud­get in­creased by P1.213 bil­lion,” Le­garda said dur­ing the ple­nary.

PDEA, or Philip­pine Drugs En­force­ment Agency, is cur­rently spear­head­ing the gov­ern­ment’s anti-nar­cotics cam­paign.

The PNP was stripped of its lead role in the cam­paign for the sec­ond time on Oc­to­ber 10, 2017, af­ter some po­lice­men were im­pli­cated in al­leged ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings.

The bud­get also in­cludes P50 mil­lion for the ac­qui­si­tion of body cam­eras “to be used by po­lice of­fi­cers in highly-ur­ban­ized ar­eas.”

The Armed Forces of the Philip­pines, mean­while, was al­lo­cated P141.860 bil­lion, to com­ple­ment the AFP Mod­ern­iza­tion Pro­gram.

To pre­vent any event like the Marawi cri­sis from hap­pen­ing again, the Se­nate also al­lo­cated P100 mil­lion for the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Co­or­di­nat­ing Agency (NICA) and in­creased the AFP in­tel­li­gence fund to P137.312 mil­lion.

The ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor re­ceived the high­est bud­get al­lo­ca­tion at P684.33 bil­lion, which in­cludes P51 bil­lion for free col­lege ed­u­ca­tion in all State Uni­ver­si­ties and Col­leges

(SUCs), apart from a P10 mil­lion fund for “cap­i­tal out­lay and free Wi-Fi in all SUCs.”

The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) and its at­tached agen­cies will get P561.58 bil­lion; SUCs, P62.33 bil­lion; and the Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (CHED), P60.42 bil­lion.

This was fol­lowed by the De­part­ment of Public Works and High­ways (DPWH) with P598.57 bil­lion “to spur in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing and her­ald the so-called Golden Age of In­fra­struc­ture.”

The third high­est al­lo­ca­tion went to the De­part­ment of Health (DOH) and its at­tached cor­po­ra­tions with 174.47.43 bil­lion, in­clud­ing a P3-bil­lion fund for the uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age and P6.5 bil­lion for the health ben­e­fits for gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees.

The De­part­ment of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (DILG) got a P170.24-bil­lion bud­get fol­lowed by the De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fense (DND) with P147.85 bil­lion and the De­part­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and De­vel­op­ment with 139.27 bil­lion.

Le­garda said gov­ern­ment would con­tinue to sup­port DSWD’s Con­di­tional Cash Trans­fer Pro­gram by up­hold­ing its P89.41 bil­lion al­lo­ca­tion, “of which P31.68 bil­lion is for rice sub­sidy.”

The Se­nate elected Le­garda as the chair­per­son of the bi­cam­eral con­fer­ence com­mit­tee that will rec­on­cile con­trast­ing pro­vi­sions of the na­tional bud­get. Mem­bers are Se­nate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore Ralph Recto, Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Franklin Drilon and Se­na­tors Sonny An­gara, Nancy Bi­nay, Pan­filo Lac­son, Joseph Vic­tor Ejercito, Cyn­thia Vil­lar and Juan Miguel Zu­biri.

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