Press Release
August 14, 2016

Recto to Palace: Itemize special powers projects in 2017 nat'l budget

Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto urged Malacañang to itemize in the proposed 2017 national budget the projects and programs that it plans to implement pursuant to the grant by Congress of emergency powers to President Duterte to solve the transportation crisis.

"Listing them in the budget is the best response to the Senate challenge that the projects must be 'FOI-compliant' and 'fiscally-responsible,' " Recto said.

"Itemization also answers the need for the Palace to provide the details of the projects that it plans to carry out in a speedy manner that the emergency powers sought would allow," he added.

Even a partial listing of projects, he stressed, would help clarify the gray areas of the powers Malacañang is asking.

"It would facilitate the discussion. The project listing would be a helpful 'Annex A' to the emergency powers bill," Recto said.

The budget listing is unavoidable, the senator stressed, "because in so far as projects requiring appropriations are concerned, there is no other route but through the national budget because these can only be implemented pursuant to appropriations authorized by Congress."

Even those that will be implemented through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) method or through any of the numerous Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) modes would still be enumerated in the budget documents that will be submitted to Congress, Recto explained.

"For projects to be fully funded by the government, the rule is that you must state and specify the cost of each, the exact location, and the name of the implementing agency," Recto explained.

Those that will be implemented with private equity, either under PPP or BOT, on the other hand, shall also be listed "because of the conditional liabilities attached," Recto said.

The senator was referring to the potential debts that government may assume if some of the contract features it guaranteed would not materialize.

Nine PPP projects implemented during the past administration have a contingent liability level of P81.1 billion, with P34 billion of this having a '25 percent to 75 percent probability" of being called, Recto said.

Malacañang is scheduled to formally transmit to the House and the Senate this week the proposed P3.3 trillion national budget for 2017.

"We are hoping that infrastructure solutions to road and air traffic congestion are already part of the announced P890 billion infrastructure budget next year so these can be scrutinized," he said.

Recto said "several predictable appropriations will have a bearing on the special powers being requested."

"Yung subsidy sa LRT and MRT, siyempre linked yan sa usapin ng traffic at emergency powers. Mapaguusapan yan, hindi mo pwedeng i-divorce yan sa big picture. Which is good so we can have a parallel track. One for the emergency powers bill, the other for the national budget," he said.

Recto had earlier said that "traffic has become a macroeconomic assumption of the 2017 national budget."

"It has come to a point that, to assure the people that something is being done, projects to ease traffic must be grouped under one cluster in the spending bill," Recto said.

News Latest News Feed