Malacañang to release executive order on water shortage
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is drafting an Executive Order (EO) to address the ongoing water supply woes that hit parts of Metro Manila and Rizal Province since last week.
In a statement released Wednesday (March 13), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Economic Cluster headed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, and the Cabinet Assistance System (CAS) were already reviewing the proposed EO that would help the government better address issues.
“The proposed EO aims to address the fragmentation in the water sector by providing the framework for an integrated and coordinated effort in planning and implementing the programs and projects to address all issues in the water sector,” Nograles said.
The Palace official said the inter-agency efforts were prompted by water management issues that were flagged in the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan (PDP).
“If you go through the PDP, you will see that it admits that despite the country’s abundant water resources, there are issues in the development, utilization and management of water-related services,” Nograles added.
The issues include limited implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in many of the country’s river basins and watersheds, which results in the resources’ sub-optimal use and wastage, and uncoordinated plans, projects and programs and access to safe water supplies due to the uneven distribution of freshwater sources.
Nograles also mentioned the lack of updated and consolidated data on water resource availability, water stress levels, over/underutilization of resources, groundwater pollution, land subsidence and saltwater intrusion.
Nograles said that even before water supply issues hit Metro Manila, they had been working already on the order to resolve water-related issues.
“The administration knows that these issues have to be addressed and we know the fundamental challenges involved. Our priority now is to provide the President with a way to resolve these issues, and we should be threshing out the details in the next few days,” the Palace official said.
At least 32 agencies are involved in the water sector, with different offices involved in the various aspects of IWRM.
“The components include water supply, sewerage and sanitation, irrigation, flood management, watershed management, financing, policy formulation and coordination. Obviously, we need a whole-of-government approach to water, and that is on the agenda in the next CAS meeting,” Nograles added.
The next CAS meeting is scheduled to be held in Palo, Leyte on Friday.
Nograles said the EO is expected to be released next week. – Robie de Guzman
by Maris Federez | Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019
Malacanang has released the details of the line items in the 2019 national budget that were vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
This, after the Chief Executive signed the Republic Act 11260 or the P3.757 Trillion General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019 on Tuesday, April 16.
Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the President did not approve the last-minute insertions made by the House of Representatives in the national budget.
The vetoed provision of the budget are the line items under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects worth P95.374 billion, which Malacanang said violates the constitution.
The Palace pointed out that such projects are not in the priority program of the Duterte Administration.
“Those are the so-called insertions/ riders. They are not part of the program by the DPWH; hence, it violates the constitution. It’s violative of the constitution,” Panelo said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has earlier disclosed that last minute realignments had been made in the budget for the benefit of several lawmakers who are allies of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Sec. Panelo reiterated what he calls as a very clear message by the President in signing the national budget.
“The message is you always follow the constitution. Any deviation from the constitution will not be approved by the President or will not be tolerated,” said Panelo.
Aside from the vetoed items, other provisions in the national budget shall be subjected to “conditional implementation in order to ensure conformity with existing laws, rules and regulations.”
Among them are the allowance and benefits of teachers and creation of teaching positions, construction of evacuation centers, funding for foreign-assisted projects, revolving fund, and lump-sum appropriations for capital outlays, as well as financial assistance to local government units and funding requirements of the country’s foreign service. – Maris Federez (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – A leader of the House of Representatives on Monday urged Malacañang to bare the details of the provisions in the 2019 national budget that were vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. made the call after Duterte signed the 2019 General Appropriations Act but vetoed more than P95 billion items of appropriations in the details of the projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Andaya said the Palace should reveal the details of the vetoed provisions “in the interest of transparency and for the guidance of the public.”
“I urge Malacañang to release the President’s veto message in full immediately so that we can base our reaction on the official document,” he said in a statement.
The lawmaker also hinted that the Senate’s alleged pork barrel remains intact in the newly-signed 2019 budget, saying this could be the reason why Senators are in celebratory mood over the deletion of the House amendments amounting to P95.3 billion.
“My friends in the Senate are going to town claiming victory over the deletion of the House amendments. Does this mean that the Senate port remains intact? Could this be the reason for their celebratory mood?” Andaya said.
The solon also argued that the President’s veto on several items in the budget could be “conditional” in nature.
“I believe that the veto being speculated about is of the conditional kind. As such, the appropriation remains but its release is subject to conditions,” he said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said in a text message on Monday that Duterte vetoed some parts in the budget that were not part of the administration’s “programmed priorities.”
Andaya has been insisting that the realignments they made were not post-ratification as these had been authorized by the bicameral conference committee report and did not exceed the expenditure ceilings of respective departments and agencies.
He also said that Senate President Vicente Sotto’s signing of the budget bill with strong reservations was ill-advised and baseless.
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the P3.757 trillion national budget for 2019, Malacañang said on Monday.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed this in a text message sent to reporters.
Medialdea said Duterte signed the budget on April 15 but vetoed parts of the bill.
“The President, among others, vetoed P95.3 billion items of appropriations in the details of DPWH programs/projects, which are not within the programmed priorities,” Medialdea said.
Duterte signed the long-delayed budget without holding a ceremonial signing. Malacañang earlier said the scheduled signing of the 2019 spending program may be pushed back until after the Lenten season, pending the President’s review.
The government has been running on a reenacted budget since January after the Congress failed to pass the proposed 2019 spending program on time.
The 2019 General Appropriations Act was transmitted to the Office of the President after it was ratified by the House of Representatives and Senate in February.
However, its enactment was delayed due to alleged “unconstitutional” realignments that prompted Senate President Vicente Sotto III to sign the budget with “strong reservations” in late March.
Sotto and other senators had previously questioned the P75-billion worth of projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that were allegedly inserted by the lower house after the bill was ratified.
But House members have maintained that the realignments were not illegal and, in turn, accused the Senate of snipping the budget for infrastructure projects.– Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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