Roxas defends P1.2-B fund for informal settlers

By Christina Mendez, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 03 2013 12:52 AM | Updated as of Sep 03 2013 08:52 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II defended on Monday the P1.2-billion fund allocated for informal settlers under the almost P90-billion total budget for 2014 of the agency and its affiliate units.

Roxas said the P1.2-billion fund for informal settlers, which is alleged by the opposition as insertions under the P9.2-billion budget of the Office of Secretary, has been part of department’s budget since the time of the late secretary Jesse Robredo.

Speaking before the Senate committee on finance chaired by Sen. Francis Escudero, Roxas reported that “more or less 606 families” have been relocated in San Juan before Tropical Storm Maring wreaked havoc some two weeks ago.

In the same budget hearing, Sen. JV Ejercito reminded Roxas not to stress himself over concerns about the 1:500 police-population ratio.

About P500 million is also allocated in 2014 for the so-called performance-based challenge fund, aimed at providing subsidy to qualified local government units (LGUs) under the Local Governance Performance Management Program for the implementation of the priority projects to support the accomplishment of the millennium development goals.

It also aims to ensure the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2009 and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010.

Roxas said the budget includes the P1.547 billion set aside for the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program (Pamana), which shall be used exclusively to implement the projects in conflict-affected areas already identified by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

The DILG has under its wing the Philippine National Police with a P71.945-billion budget, Bureau of Fire Protection with a budget of P8.725 billion for 2014, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (P6.270 billion), Local Government Academy (P149.8 million), National Police Commission (P1.422 billion), and Philippine Public Safety College (P1.5 billion).

Under the special provisions for the DILG, of the P9.5-billion budget for the Office of the Secretary, about P76 million was appropriated for 2014 to enhance LGU capacity on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management framework.