Press Release
November 26, 2015

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

SPFMD: We finished the debates on the 2016 national budget last night. We expect to pass the budget on second and third reading today. The next week will be devoted for the Bicameral conference committee meetings between the Senate and the House of Representatives to thresh out the differences, so we expect the Bicam will finish its work by December 4. We will ratify the Bicam the week of December 7 to December 11, including the printing of the budget itself. So we expect to submit the budget by December 14. That's our target date so that the President will have a week to 10 days to review the budget and see whether he will exercise his line-item veto as he would traditionally. We are very confident that we will have the budget finished by the month of December. It is so important because in the budget there is P57 billion for the Salary Standardization Law IV. Ang kabuuan po ng alokasyon para sa SSL ay P225.8 billion which will be given in four years beginning 2016 with an allocation of about P57 billion. It is important that the budget becomes effective by January 1, 2016, so that we can expect this SSL IV. Also, immediately after we pass the budget, we will give the highest priority to the implementing law on the SSL IV which will now define in definite terms what the salary scale will be for each salary grade of government employees. We also want to pass the SSL IVwithin December so that in January it will be implemented with the funds coming from the authorization in the 2016 national budget.

Isang amendment na ating hihilingin sa Senate Committee on Finance ang pagbabalik ng P500 million sa budget ng Comelec in order that we can speed up the transition of the election results. The Comelec has requested that the budget be augmented by P500 million for what they call as the electronic results transmission solution management and services in order to speed up the transmission of the results. This was not in the national expenditure program submitted to Congress. The HoR included this and found the request of the Comelec to be in order and therefore, augmented the budget of the Comelec by P500 million. However, the Senate Finance Committee did not approve it and in the committee report, it deleted the P500 million. We are requesting the Senate Finance Committee as our amendment the reinstatement of the P500 million for the Comelec in order to speed up the transmission of the results.

Pagkatapos ng budget ay yung Bangsamoro Basic Law. We have only one senator who will interpellate, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. We are not aware of any other senator. Assuming that this is the case, we should be able to terminate the period of debates by the first week of December. Assuming that there will be no senator who will interpellate, except Senator Enrile, then afterwards, we will go to the period of amendment. We still have time. We have December 1 to December 18. Also, another proposed measure which we will give priority is the Customs and Tariff Modernization Act.

Q: On the re-opening of the Mamasapano hearing

SPFMD: The Committee on Rules has not yet submitted its report.

Q: On the differences in the Senate and House version of the 2016 budget

SPFMD: I could not give a definite answer because there will be amendments. There will be amendments that will be submitted that is precisely why I cannot respond to you whether or not there will be very substantial differences. Because while it was manifested on the floor, I do not know whether or not it will find its way in the Senate version.

Q: On Senator Enrile's request to increase OVP budget

SPFMD: They will submit it to the committee. I do not even know if that will reach the floor because that will be submitted first to the committee.

Q: Yung sa P500 million, saan po kaya kukunin yun?

SPFMD: Kung saan nilagay noong tinanggal nila. It must have been given somewhere else. We just have to recall what augmentation was done as a result of the reduction.

Q: Ang sabi ni Senator Miriam, bloated at ambitious daw yung budget?

SPFMD: The more accurate statement would be that not everything can be bid out and executed within a calendar year, especially in the capital outlays the budget is still good for another year and therefore, the expenditure programs will continue for another year. This is not uncommon because there are delays. For example, as we talk today you will see an advertisement in the newspapers bidding out projects. And then it is possible that by the end of the year, it is not yet awarded and no SARO (Special Allotment and Release Order) has been made. But it doesn't mean that it is unspent, because by the first quarter of next year the authorization to spend for that project is still good and the SARO can be issued. May spill over talaga hind maiiwasan.

Q: Ang sabi mayroon pang lumpsum at pork barrel?

SPFMD: Gusto kong malaman kung ano yung sinasabi nila. As far as I know, there is no inappropriate lumpsum. But there are lumpsum items that cannot be avoided. For example, yung calamity fund, hindi mo naman pwedeng alamin at i-disaggregate yung calamity fund. As far as I know there are no lumpsum appropriations but we would like to see which items are alleged to be lumpsum.

Q: Yung sinasabi ninyon spill over ng budget for another year, Constitutional ba yun?

SPFMD: Yes. The capital outlay is good for two years, not the MOOE and salary (or Personal Service).

Q: Papaano yun, may Comelec ban na in March next year?

SPFMD: What it simply means is that you ask the permission of the Comelec to execute the project. So it is still allowed, except that the COmelec has to approve it.

Q: Yung sa case ng DILG on the Local Government Support Fund, pwede bang i-download iyon sa LGU before the ban?

SPFMD: I cannot answer that very technical question.

Q: Si Speaker Belmonte, suko na doon sa tax reform kasi hindi naman daw suportado ni PNoy. Dito ba sa Senate?

SPFMD: We cannot take up the bill because that's a revenue measure that must come from the House.

Q: Tama po ba iyon?

SPFMD: I do not want to comment on that because that's an affair of the House.

Q: Yung sa BBL, may chance pa bang maipasa?

SPFMD: We have a chance.

Q: Sa House?

SPFMD: I do not know.

Q: For the Senate?

SPFMD: We have a chance.

Q: On politics, what was the LP's reaction on the presidential run of Mayor Duterte?

SPFMD: To me, the best politics, the best way of getting the support is to do your work and I do not want to comment on political issues while I work on the national budget.

News Latest News Feed