Press Release
July 25, 2006

Transcript of Interview with Senator Franklin M. Drilon

Q: Sa inyo daw mapupunta iyong Finance Committee? What are your thoughts on the supplemental budget?

SFMD: Firstly, reenacting the budget for 2005 in 2006 is not exactly bad. The reenacted budget in 2006 results in a better deficit picture. The deficit will be reduced to approximately P44 billion for the year as against a projected P125 billion in the 2006 budget. So that the spending authority limit under the 2005 budget would result in a better deficit picture, which is good for our economy. It is not exactly bad that the budget is reenacted. Let's see what they will propose in the supplemental budget. I could see that we need to have a supplemental budget for the LGUs insofar as the IRA is concerned. The 2005 IRA allocation is based on the 2006 national tax collection. The 2006 entitlement of the LGUs should be based on the 2003 tax collection. There is a difference of approximately P15 B and the LGUs are entitled to that amount and that should be in the supplemental budget. I am open to that insofar as the LGUs are concerned. Also, the modernization of the Comelec, we need P2B its modernization. We are also open to that because we need to really modernize the process next year.

Q: Comment on SONA

SFMD: SONAs are supposed to give direction. Last year, the direction was Chacha. This year the direction was infrastructure. I thought that it is necessary that there should be continuity. There is none. The most glaring is the fact that there is no mention of the shift to parliamentary system insofar as the legislature is concerned. Yes, there was a mention of federalism but insofar as the shift to a parliamentary system is concerned, there was no mention at all. Is that a signal that the President is no longer pushing for the parliamentary system of government? We do not know. We also would have liked to hear what are the plans for education. We did not hear any. Also on health, and how do we address corruption? We would have expected some continuity in the SONA. There was a major shift this time.

Q: Are you in favor of having a supplemental budget?

SFMD: I am open to that because there is a need for it. I would repeat, in the 2005 budget which was reenacted, the share of the LGUs is based on the 2002 collection of national taxes. We are now in 2006. The LGU share should be based on the national taxes collected in 2003. There is a difference of P15 billion approximately. Therefore, for the LGUs to get that share, we must have a supplemental budget. So I am open to that. Also, the Comelec Modernization Program, or approximately P2 billion, should be there.

Q: May Supreme Court ruling daw na automatic na iyon

SFMD: Automatically released. The court said it should be automatically released. But it must be appropriated. Because the budget is a spending authority.

Q: Tama po ba, kayo na ang chairman ng finance committee?

SFMD: Senator Villar has made that statement but until the matter is placed on the floor, I don't want to make any assumptions.

Q: You said there was an apparent shift in the Palace's support for chacha?

SFMD: I am just making such conclusion. I am not even saying that that is a fact.

Q: On budget

SFMD: As a result of the reenacted budget for the full year, the deficit is projected at only P44 billion. If we enacted the 2006 budget as proposed, the deficit would have been projected at P125 billion.

Q: Are you in favor of the super regions?

SFMD: Certainly, we need infrastructure. The question is funding. Who can argue against infrastructure?

Q: Nandoon ang possibility ng additional taxes? Borrowing?

SFMD: That is a good question, where will you source the funds? Borrowing? Additional taxes?

Q: Some say it's private sector-led or grants, ODA?

SFMD: That's all speculative. (end)

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