MANILA - The Senate committee on finance has deferred the endorsement of the proposed P3.9-billion budget of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for 2014 following the discovery of a P548-million lump sum item.
Senator Sergio Osmeña III, one of the committee vice chairmen, said the P548 million for the promotion of anti-poverty programs in every town of the country is a new item in the DTI budget.
“I am questioning this because I do not understand how this will be implemented if you’re going to give just P1 million or P2 million to every municipality,” he said.
Lump sum items in the budgets of the different government agencies have become a sensitive topic amid reports on the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund of legislators.
“If they put it that way then we might as well give this to the Department of the Interior and Local Government. We have to refine that concept,” Osmeña said.
Osmeña, meanwhile, said he was encouraged by the DTI’s expansion of the “One Town, One Project” concept in promoting the goods of different local government units.
With the clustering of towns, the project would become several towns, one or two projects.
“That is a very good concept. I have long pushed for the concept of clustering, which has been an immensely successful concept in many countries, particularly in Japan,” Osmeña said.
He said Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV would also raise several items he wants the DTI to consider in promoting small and medium enterprises in the country in the next budget hearing of the DTI.