Press Release
December 11, 2018

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

Q: Impossible na raw matapos yung budget?

Drilon:It's impossible. First, we have to attend the joint session of Congress in response to the request of the President to extend the Martial Law. We have to be there in the morning and we expect the whole day to be consumed. So, we cannot finish it. It's impossible. Really, from the very start, if we look at the previous years, palaging nakakarating sa amin yung budget about second week of November, eh ngayon dumating sa amin, dahilan sa kanikang mga insertions sa House, just a few days before December. Hindi po totoo na mapeperwisyo ang ating mga kawani sa pamahalaan. We assure our people that the opposition will cooperate so that we can recover from this timetable, which is caused principally by the delay in the HoR submission, and we will finish the budget when we come back in January.

Q: Sir, iniisip daw nila na tanggalin na lang yung election ban sa construction. Can that be done?

Drilon:I haven't reviewed the law. But if it requires legislation, yes, it can be done.

Q: Amenable kayo ron?


Q: You're also pushing for the return of the budget cut given to DOH?

Drilon:Yes. You know, I feel it is totally inequitable and unfair that the budget of the DOH was slashed by about P30-B, from P101-B from the present budget to P79-B in the proposed 2019 budget. Malaki po ang epekto nito. Yung mga rural health units nakatiwangwang. There are about 900 health facilities that have been finished and could not be equipped because of these budget cuts. We will not tolerate this. I have insisted on the chair of Senate finance committee that it should be restored, because the health facilities enhancement program is being prejudiced.

Kung nadagdagan ng ilang bilyon yung mga distrito doon sa House version, bakit naman babawasan natin itong ating DOH, which provides services to the people. This is not consistent with the budget message of the President, which emphasized the need for social services. The primary agency for social services is the DOH. Why are reducing it?

Q: Kaya raw siya na-slashed is because yung capacity nila to spend?

Drilon:First, I don't agree. Assuming that that is true, you do not punish the Filipino people by depriving them of health services because of the inefficiency of the bureaucracy. In fairness to Sec. Duque, he has been defending his office that that is not true. The failure to disburse it on time is not because of the negligence of the DOH but because of compliance with certain rules, like bidding, etc...

I would concur that prudence dictates that public funds are properly disbursed rather than the desire to disburse public funds on time. What is more important is extreme caution is being done insofar as disbursement of funds is concerned.

Q: Is the minority bloc supporting Sen. Lacson to really scrutinize insertions in the budget?

Drilon: Yes. We have been scrutinizing the budget. We will continue to do so. The minority is supporting the efforts of Sen. Lacson.

Q: How much budget you want restored?

Drilon: I'm pushing harder and will not agree to any compromise on the restoration of P16.8-B out of the P28 billion that was cut.

Q: Where do you plan to get that?

Drilon: We plan to get it from the Miscellaneous and Personnel Benefit Fund or the Assistance of LGUs, which are lump-sum appropriations.

Q: Will you agree to a special session (to approve the budget)?

Drilon: The consensus in the Senate is we cannot finish the budget by this week nor next week.

Q: May expose si Cong Andaya na hindi pa man naaprubahan yung 2019 budget, mayroon ng isang contractor na nabigyan ng 30 flood control projects. Do you think that should be investigated?

Drilon: Yes, we should investigate that. I will raise questions on that when DPWH budget comes. Let's find out who is this and how this becomes possible. I'm glad that Cong. Andaya has raised this issue.

Q: What agency should investigate it?

Drilon: First, we should take it up in the plenary and let's see if there is basis to investigate it further. The Blue Ribbon and the Ombudsman, should be involved.

Q: That is highly questionable, Sir?

Drilon:I would not jump into any conclusion. But it bothers me why a single contractor can corner so much of the projects.

Q: At bakit 2019 pa yun budget, bakit nangyari na.

Drilon:Bakit alam na niya.

Q: Yung budget cut, nangyari sa House o sa Senate?

Drilon:No, sa version ng Malakanyang. Sa NEP pa lang ay pinutol na sa mahigit P30-B, form P107-B in 2018 GAA, the NEP only provided for P71-B; the House version made it P77-B; and the Senate restored P2-B. But that's not enough. We should restore P16.8-B.

Q: Sir, yung sole proprietorship ng contractor is not registered with SEC, dapat ba registered sila?

Drilon:Not necessarily, as long as they are properly equipped and capitalized. The resigstration with SEC is not really essential; it is the capitalization of the contractor, the capacity to execute the project.

Q: Never heard yung pangalan ng contractor?


Q: The minority bloc will introduce a resolution (to investigate the contractor who allegedly bagged 30 flood control projects)?

Drilon:First thing to do is to raise questions about that when the DPWH budget is raised and let's see how they will respond, or we will go further.

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