P91-B DILG budget gets Senate panel OK

By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2012 05:07 PM | Updated as of Oct 18 2012 04:24 PM

MANILA - The Senate Committee on Finance has approved the P91 billion budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for 2013.

Part of the DILG’s expenditures for 2013 would be the strengthening of cooperatives in the local government units, disaster risk preparedness projects, and continued livelihood programs for the provinces.

The proposed budget will also include construction of 72 local roads among various cities and municipalities and six infrastructure projects such as building of health centers, daycare, housing and public markets in local government units. 

It also includes recruitment of more police personnel for 2013 and acquisition of some 76 fire trucks for the Bureau of Fire Protection.

DILG Secretary Mar Roxas said there is still a shortfall of the ideal number of fire trucks in the country. He said there are about 656 out of 1,600 LGUs that do not have fire trucks.

He said they plan to purchase roughly about 240-250 fire trucks by 2013.

Aside from the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is also beefing up its forces next year. While recruiting additional members of the force, the PNP also plans to purchase patrol jeeps and long firearms which has a fill up rate of 35% and 33% respectively.

PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome explained that while they lack patrol vehicles, they will be mobilizing additional policemen to conduct foot patrols, especially in convergent areas within the LGUs.

He said they are now inclined to limit administrative office operations from 10 am to 3 pm only to give way to additional foot patrol to be conducted between 8-10 am and 3-5 pm. This is on top of the regular police patrol conducted by each police station in the country.

Bartolome added that they will more rigid and strict in the recruitment of police personnel with a more intense psychological test to avoid occurrence of abuses among newly installed policemen.

Despite the shortfall and lack of budget therein, Roxas said they "can develop proposals for substantive capability building" to augment the inadequacies of funds.

He also clarified to the Senate panel that in the proposed framework of the Bangsamoro, the guidance they are receiving from Malacañang is that there will only be one police force that is civilian in character and consistent with the Philippine Constitution.