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Palace hopes Senate bickering doesn’t delay ’09 budget

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 17:23:00 09/18/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is hoping the bickering between the majority and minority blocs in the Senate, while an “internal matter,” does not delay deliberations for the 2009 budget.

“This [budget deliberations] can take all the way to October. By that time, we are hopeful that the storm in the Senate will be over. Let’s hope it will not be long [enough] to affect the deliberations,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita told a news briefing at the Palace.

Senator Panfilo Lacson has linked Senate President Manuel Villar to the P200-million double entry in the 2008 budget for the C-5 road extension project.

On Wednesday, Lacson and other minority senators did not attend the afternoon session.

During the same briefing, Ermita said six Cabinet agencies got substantial increases in the Palace’s 2009 budget proposal, in line with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s trust to bring government services to the poorest of the poor, build infrastructure, and ensure food security.

Ermita said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) got the biggest increase, by 115 percent, to P10.5 billion from P4.98 billion in 2008, followed by the Department of Agriculture (P25.45 billion to P39.7 billion), Department of Interior and Local Government (P53.5 billion to P69.9 billion), Department of Public Works and Highways (P102.4 billion to P120 billion), Department of Education (P147.2 billion to P165.5 billion), and the Department of National Defense (P51 billion to P56.5 billion).

Of the total DSWD budget, Ermita said P5 billion would be spent on the anti-poverty program Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino (Bridge for the Filipino Family).

In the DA budget, he said P6 billion would be used to build farm-to-market roads while P12.6 billion would be used to build irrigation systems.

The DepEd budget will be used to fill in the shortage of textbooks among others, Ermita said.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2008-09-18T13:09:48+00:00UTC09bUTCThu, 18 Sep 2008 13:09:48 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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