House panel hears DILG budget despite no-show of top officials

The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) on Thursday proceeded with the briefing on the 2018 proposed budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) despite the absence of DILG Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director-General Ronald dela Rosa who were both in Ozamiz City with President Duterte.

The committee proceeded with the DILG budget briefing after Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo (2nd District, Lanao del Norte) withdrew his motion to defer the agency's budget deliberation.

Dimaporo made the motion to defer the budget deliberation in the absence of Cuy and Dela Rosa who were expected to lead the defense of the DILG proposed budget of P170.733 billion which is 15 percent higher than the 2017 budget of P148.037 billion.

He said he has issues and concerns that only the DILG OIC, PNP Chief and other officials can answer.

But Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo FariAas said they should proceed with the briefing instead and he assured Dimaporo that he would make the officials of the DILG and PNP go to his office (FariAas) so that Dimaporo could have a dialogue with them otherwise we will not take up their budget at all.

The budget proceedings have different stages and today is only a briefing. We still have the pre-plenary and plenary. Besides, this is the only department that is scheduled for today, FariAas said.

He said if the committee does not give the DILG the opportunity to present its budget proposal, then it would be such a waste. Sayang naman ang panahon nila. Mag-briefing na lang sila. Let's go on with the briefing and then other questions can be reserved at the plenary stage, said FariAas.

Likewise, Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya), vice chair of the panel and who presided over the briefing, assured members of the panel they will not push through with the pre-plenary conference if the DILG officials as well as the PNP chief and other PNP officials will not eventually show up.

About 81 percent of the DILG proposed budget or P137.917 billion will be allotted for personnel services (PS), 15 percent or about P25.537 billion for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and about four percent or P7.278 billion for capital outlays (CO).

Rep. Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City) asked the PNP if the list of its needed equipment, which was submitted to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, was included in the proposed budget.

Lobregat explained that when Speaker Alvarez went to Zamboanag City last April 18, he had a security briefing with Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command Chief Carlito Galvez, Jr. and that PNP Regional Director Billy Beltran was also present.

Lobregat said after the briefing, Speaker Alvarez said, talagang kailangan ninyo ang tulong. So ibigay sa akin through Congressman Lobregat yung listahan na kailangan ninyo to combat the rebels and terrorists. He said in the area there are four types of threats: the Maute, the Abu Sayyaf, the rogue elements of the MILF, the NPA and the private armies.

Lobregat said he was tasked by the Speaker to check if what was requested was included in the budget proposal.

The Speaker committed that he will help and will ensure that the list is included in the budget, he said.

Lobregat said he went to the Speaker to tell him that the list was not included in the proposed budget and the Speaker asked why.

The PNP said the list was not included as the deadline for the budget proposal was last March 31.

Source: House of Representatives

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