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Peace execs grilled over P12.8-B program

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday grilled officials of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) over the P12.841-billion lump sum budget allocated by the national government in eight agencies under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) program for 2016.

Enrile questioned OPAPP Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo on the Pamana program as the OPAPP appeared before the Senate finance subcommittee chaired by Sen. Bam Aquino, who conducted the review of the agency’s P767.9-million budget for next year.

“I want you to give this committee the extent of negotiations you have had or are having with all of these five groups and the breakdown of the money you have used so far in doing the negotiations with them. Please submit that so that we can study them,” Enrile told Montalbo.

Although Montalbo explained that the budget with Pamana as a program was not with OPAPP but with different agencies, Enrile said he wants to know the OPAPP’s role in the implementation of the project.

“Give me the inputs of your office with respect to the various agencies of government falling under the Pamana program because they allocated a project under the OPAPP. And they are listed here,” Enrile added.

The OPAPP website states that the agency spearheads the implementation of Pamana, which is the national government’s peace and development framework for empowering conflict-affected areas in the country. It is supported by the government line agencies.

“Give us the history of each of these projects listed here in lump sums. The breakdown, and what was the participation of this office in the implementation of these projects,” Enrile said.?He noted that in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) alone, there is a big jump in the Pamana budget for next year, which is placed at P3.5 billion, from P655.5 million this year.

“You explain to me why,” he said, referring to the 440 percent increase in the ARMM budget.?At this point, Aquino also asked the OPAPP executive to explain the process how the Pamana beneficiaries are identified, and the areas where these are implemented.

Enrile also warned Montalbo that he will be checking the official’s reply with the other agencies during the budget hearing.

“Your answers here, I have to recheck with the budgets of other agencies in the budget hearings. If you are going to be uncandid with us, I’ll have to sanction you,” he said.

Apart from the ARMM, Enrile also asked why the budget for the Pamana project under the Department of the Agriculture (DA) went down.

“You had P1.73 billion in the current year. For the next calendar year, the proposed (budget) is only P586 million. Kindly explain why. This is agriculture,” he added.

He also posed the same questions to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“What’s the problem of the peace process in the DENR and you are being involved?” Enrile asked.

Under the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for Pamana for 2016, the Department of Public Works and Highways is getting an “intervention,” amounting to P6.338 billion; ARMM, P3.5 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government, P1.793 billion; DA, P586 million; Department of Social Welfare and Development, P427.4 million; DENR, P84 million; Commission on Higher Education, P14.5 million and Philippine Health Insurance Corp., P53.565 million or a total of P12.841 billion.

ACIRC

ALTHOUGH MONTALBO

AUTONOMOUS REGION

BAM AQUINO

BILLION

BUDGET

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS

ENRILE

MILLION

PAMANA

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